Alighiero Boetti [Game Plan] – A critical reflection

Strangely enough, the same person recommended me one more practitioner
to look at while in Tate for Kusama’s exhibition. Alighiero Boetti was an
Italian conceptual artist who was mostly famous for his series of embroidered
maps of the world. He did many of them, in different decades and thus it
shows the geopolitical changes around the globe. The interesting part is that
he is using different colours for every country or just the flag and even
shows slight changes on the map, due to wars, with different colour tones.

I went to his exhibition in Tate Modern and because I had no idea what to
expect, it gave a feeling of adventure and excitement. This time the curator
had chosen to showcase Boetti’s work through themes. Each room had a
collection of artefacts judged on their common points like the material.

Boetti has worked with a wide variety of materials. I believe that gave him
the freedom to give shape to his visions. As he comes from Turin, a city
known for its heavy industry, that could have been a great influence to his
way of thinking. His name became similar to the Arte Povera movement.

Throughout the gallery’s walls were some really big canvases or embroideries.
I found the repetitive element was in every one of his works. His work was not
a psychedelic as Kusama’s but quite obsessive in some. The fact that he used
biro ball pens to cover areas of more than 20 sq.m. is something really exciting
as it would take him or his students weeks to finish. He also did installations with
wood, carton, electrical devices, and building material.

Alighiero Boetti – I mille fiumi piu lunghi del mondo (1976-78)

Though his most serious work would be the huge maps. Although the maps are
made mostly by Afghan people he met in his travels.  It seems that he was
extremely close with Afghanistan and that’s why he even experiment with
letting people choose some of the colours on the maps.

In my opinion his wokrs could be considered as a documentary of this world.
He is quite consistent throughout his work and the sizes he mostly uses make
his statement look more realistic and alive. You can walk along the canvases
trying to spot details and then move away to get the meaning.

I can’t say that I totally understood the meaning of everything he did but the
consistensy and geometrical accuracy throuout his works really ispires me.

In a way, all of his creations were interactive with the audience or even made
by more than people. For example, the letters he sent out on deliberately wrong
addresses and when returned, sent back again, made possible to collect a huge
amount of stamps, that he then put in order so it actually showed the trails of this
mail around the world. A different example would be his huge canvases made
with ball point pen by giving different pieces of the canvas to his students. Or the
huge map embroideries made by more than 500 Afghan and Pakistani artisans.

Alighiero Boetti – “Mappa” [Map] (1979)
I feel that his work inspires me because it interacts with the audience and much
more because everything I saw that day was absolutely new to me. Boetti is an
artist that translates his thoughts in art, mostly psysical objects. He was looking
at the world from a very straight forward and symmetrical point of view,
something that communicates well with me.


2 Replies to “Alighiero Boetti [Game Plan] – A critical reflection”

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