Alighiero e Boetti Day

Artissima e Fondazione Nicola Trussardi

Auditorium RAI, Torino
Saturday, May 28, 2011


Alighiero e Boetti Day is a twelve-hour, non-stop event, curated by Luca Cerizza, Massimiliano Gioni, and Francesco Manacorda, which explores the complex, multifaceted figure of Alighiero Boetti. From noon to midnight on Saturday, 28 May 2011, in the evocative setting of the Auditorium RAI in Turin—designed by Carlo Mollino in 1952—artists, art historians, critics, writers, musicians, scientists, and collaborators and friends of Alighiero Boetti have been invited by Artissima and the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi to come together and investigate the wide-ranging, influential work and ideas of one of the 20th century’s most significant, yet most enigmatic artists.

Salman Alì, Stefano Arienti, Stefano Bartezzaghi, Thomas Bayrle, Achille Bonito Oliva, Robert Cailliau, Clino Castelli, Maurizio Cattelan, Germano Celant, Laura Cherubini, Francesco Clemente, Lynne Cooke, Pino Corrias, Roberto Cuoghi, Mariangelica De Gaetano, Mario Dellavedova, Pietro Derossi, Dexter Sinister, Patrizio Di Massimo, Peppe Frana, Guido Fuga, Giorgio Galli, Mario Garcia Torres, Piero Gilardi, Mark Godfrey, Emidio Greco, Rolf Lauter, Corrado Levi, Giorgio Maffei, Randi Malkin Steinberger, Andrea Marescalchi, Massimo Minini, Jonathan Monk, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Luigi Ontani, Giulio Paolini, Francesca Pasini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Paola Pivi, Christian Rattemeyer, Maria Teresa Roberto, Pier Luigi Sacco, Daud Khan Sadozai, Salvo, Federico Tiezzi, Tommaso Trini, Andrea Valle, [iaŋ] [voo], Adelina von Fuerstenberg and Lawrence Weiner are just a few of the names who have enthusiastically signed onto the project, and who have paid tribute to the figure of Alighiero Boetti in many different ways.
Through the stories they can contribute—as extraordinary travelling companions, or simply as artists, thinkers and critics who look back on Boetti’s work with fascination—Alighiero e Boetti Day has offered a fresh interpretation of Boetti’s pivotal role in Italian culture and the international art scene.

Alighiero e Boetti Day is a one-of-a-kind, hybrid event, a cross between a conference, artistic project, performance and biographical narration: twelve hours of sessions, open to the public, which has included individual speakers, discussions, roundtables, screenings of films and interviews, presentations of never-before-seen material, readings, artistic incursions and theatrical gestures, fitting together like a thousand tiles to compose a single, vast, colourful mosaic. An invaluable opportunity to learn more about the artist, Alighiero e Boetti Day is also, above all, a way to look back over Alighiero Boetti’s artistic practice through the eyes of those who were close to him and still are: the experts and artists of different generations who continue to keep his legacy and thoughts alive. Alighiero e Boetti Day experiments with a new exhibition and research format: a platform of exchange centred not on works but on stories and first-hand accounts, aimed at celebrating an individual who achieved legendary status for many artists and cultural figures in the past, and who seems even more significant today.

With Alighiero e Boetti Day, Artissima and the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi dedicate an impassioned tribute of international resonance to Alighiero Boetti in his native city, Turin, retracing the many facets of the artist’s insightful work, and affirming his central role as one of most influential figures in the history of contemporary art.

Alighiero e Boetti Day is a project curated by Luca Cerizza, author of Le mappe di Alighiero e Boetti (Electa); Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic director of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi; and Francesco Manacorda, Director of Artissima.

The event is co-produced by Artissima and the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi as part of Giorno per Giorno 2011, an initiative sponsored by the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT, Turin.

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Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994) – or Alighiero e Boetti as the Artist signed his works from 1973 on  – was born in Turin, where he started his activity joining the Arte Povera movement in January 1967.  In 1972 he moved to Rome, where he discovered the pleasure of light and colours, far from the austerity of Turin. In 1971 he had discovered Afghanistan and in Kabul had started an artistic collaboration with women embroiderers, creating tapestries such as his political Maps which would evolve according to the world’s political mutations.
As a conceptual and versatile artist, he has produced a great variety of artworks, delegating to other people the manual execution of some specific typologies, but in that case following very precise “rules of the game” and even high principles such as the 1971 Nobel Price  Jacques Monod’s “Chance and necessity”.
Among such pieces, the ballpoint pen Monochromes (blue, black, red, green) with a white coded writing coming out of the evenly doodled coloured surface; or the tapestries embroidered on cloth, not only the World Maps but also the multi-coloured Magic Squares of texts written in Italian and Persian as well as the Tutto (Everything), dense puzzles where indeed everything can be found ( newspaper silhouettes, figures of animals and shapes of domestic objects …).
The idea of time, with its fascinating and ineluctable passing by, probably is the unifying topic in Boetti’s typological and iconographical plurality. Among the last works some are monumental indeed, such as the fifty one tapestries with texts in Italian and Persian (shown in Paris, at Les Magiciens de la Terre exhibition, 1989), or else the fifty kilims exposed at the Magasin in Grenoble in December 1993, which was the last exhibition inaugurated in presence of the Artist, yet very ill at that time.
Alighiero Boetti exposed his works in the most prestigious and emblematic exhibitions of his generation, from When Attitudes Become Form (1969) to Contemporanea (Rome 1973), from Identité Italienne (Paris, 1981) to The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968 (Guggenheim Museum New York, 1994). Works of his were exposed at six editions of the Venice Biennale ; his personal exhibition room in the 1990 edition was awarded a special prize, and a posthumous homage show was presented in the 2001 edition.

Not only his works but his choices as an artist strongly influenced the generation of artists that followed and many young people of the new millennium, in Italy and in the world.

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