Alighiero Boetti: Untitled, 1988
115 x 112 cm
Alighiero Boetti: Afghanistan, 1987
100 x 70 cm
Alighiero Boetti: Mappa del Mundo, 1988
117.5 × 226cm
(b. 1940, Turin, Italy; d. 1994, Rome, Italy)
Alighiero Boetti's art has embraced all forms of culture, media, linguistics, music and crafts in a wide range of media including, notably, tapestry and ball-point pen drawings. From his beginnings in Turin in 1960s, Boetti perceived a symbolic and poetic meaning in humble everyday material. Alongside his fellow members of the Arte Povera movement, Boetti re-invigorated the Italian artistic production in the 1960s and 1970s and investigated universal matters such as space, language and self-identity.
Radically he left Italy for Afghanistan in 1971 and started a continuous collaboration with the local weavers to produce embroidered tapestries. Boetti, intending to recover manual handicraft skills, considered his work as combined efforts, with the artist as a referential person. The series of tapestry Maps represents a seminal production in his oeuvre. His 1969 Planisfero Politico in which Boetti drew directly onto an ordinary map of the world, filling the territory of each state with its corresponding flag, anticipated the series. The Afghan and Pakistani weavers were left free to elaborate the background and their colourful design is deceptively simple, as they address issues such as territory, frontier and national identity. They also brilliantly illustrate the geo-political changes of the last thirty years, and especially before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.