Independent Art Voice

Arte Povera Explored In New Boetti Exhibition At Mazzoleni London

Arte Povera

An exhibition of exceptional pieces by the Italian conceptual artist Alighiero Boetti has opened at Mazzoleni London. The exhibition will run from 5 June – 31 July 2015. The works were curated by Rinaldo Rossi – a long term collaborator and friend of Boetti from 1967 until his death – and Corinna Turati, the exhibition presents a comprehensive examination of Boetti’s work as well as the codes and mechanisms used in his practice. 

This is a a rare opportunity to view Boetti works from several important stages in the artist’s life, including iconic works such as embroideries, ballpoint pen drawings and further works on paper. Highlights include Mappa, 1979; the three panels Smettere in Moto, 1978-79; a large Tutto, 1988-1989; and a refined selection of works on paper. 

The exhibition on the lower level gives the opportunity for visitors to delve through a series of private documents (including postcards, correspondence and personal notes of Rinaldo Rossi), rules, mechanisms and combinations of Alighiero Boetti’s very distinctive language. The installation in this section is inspired by the “Wall” in which Alighiero Boetti united a number of images related not by aesthetic qualities but by a conceptual narrative. 

Alighiero Boetti (Turin 1940 – Rome 1994) was one of the most influential conceptual artists of the twentieth century. Initially associated with Arte Povera, Boetti first came to prominence in his hometown in the early 1960’s. He moved to Rome in 1972 and one year before, in 1971, started to travel frequently to Afghanistan. These visits became a central experience for his work, particularly the development of his embroideries and of his famous maps. In Kabul he opened the One Hotel and worked with craftspeople making embroideries and rugs. In the 1960s Boetti began to distance himself from Arte Povera and developed an original conceptual language that would involve a large array of techniques and materials such as printing, embroidery, use of postage stamps and ballpoint pen drawings. Boetti recently had a solo exhibition at Tate Modern (2012) and continues to have a significant impact on younger artists today. 

Solo shows include Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (1977); Kunsthalle, Basel (1978); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994, 2012); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1994); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (1994); Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome (1996); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (1997, 1998); Whitechapel Gallery, London (1999); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2002); Tate Modern, London (2012); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2012). In 2001, the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale was entirely dedicated to his work.

Group exhibitions include Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1969); Biennale di Venezia, Venice (1972, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1990, 1993); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1974, 1985, 2005, 2007); Hayward Gallery, London (1980); Centre Pompidou, Paris (1981, 1989, 1997, 2000, 2001); Documenta 5 and 7, Kassel (1972, 1982); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (1993, 2001); Tate Modern, London (2001, 2005); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2008).


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