An homage to Boetti’s career and the influence of his work, the
show will be presenting a selection of the artist’s rarely seen artworks articulated
around the original Il Muro (The Wall), shown for the first time in a commercial
Il Muro, originally conceived in Boetti’s apartment in Trastevere in 1970, evolved throughout the artist’s life and only reached its final state upon his death in 1994. It is composed of 74 pieces including 15 of the artist’s own works, five drawings by his daughter Agata and a photograph of her as a child. One can also find various memories and newspaper cuttings such as the announcement of Pablo Picasso’s death on the front page of the Kabul Times, a map of the most important waterfalls around the world and several original photographs. Boetti took Il Muro – simultaneously a record of his experimental artistic practice and a source of inspiration – with him to each of his subsequent studios, suggesting that the work’s vital importance as an integral part of the artist’s creative process.
The exhibition at Tornabuoni Art London aims to bring the artist’s evolution to the fore, from his initial sources of inspiration to the artist’s most sought-after works, highlighting the essential tensions within Boetti’s production: private and public life, authorship and appropriation, introspection and geopolitics, finished and unfinished, planning and chance. “We are honoured by the trust of Agata Boetti, who is generously allowing us to bring Il Muro – not displayed since 2013 – to the London public,” says gallery director Ursula Casamonti.
ABOUT THE ARTIST Alighiero Boetti (Turin, 1940 – Rome, 1994) briefly studied business and economics at the University of Turin, before starting his career as a self-taught artist.
Initially associated with the Arte Povera movement, Boetti had his first solo show in 1967 at the Christian Stein gallery in Turin. Two years later, the When attitudes become form exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel marked Boetti’s detachment from Arte Povera in favour of Conceptual Art. His works thereafter focused on codes of classification and communication, working with numbers, maps and alphabets and playing with a variety of materials and techniques reminiscent of ancient Asian craftsmanship.
Boetti’s passion for Afghanistan began in the early 1970s when he and his wife Annemarie opened the “One Hotel” in Kabul. There, Boetti began working on the Mappe (Maps), entrusting the realisation of his famous tapestries to Afghan female embroiderers.
The revolutionary aspect of Boetti’s work resides in the creation of a paradigm within which the people involved in the creative process are invited to act, radically questioning the role of the artist and the impact of chance, sequence, repetition and authorship in the creation of a work of art. His work and attitude have strongly influenced the next generation of artists in Italy and around the world.