Alighiero Boetti - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galleria Santo Ficara Arte, Florence
    Sprüth Magers, Berlin
    Private Collection, Milan
    Private Collection, Switzerland
    McCabe Fine Art

  • Exhibited

    Stockholm, McCabe Fine Art, Alighiero Boetti: Selected Works, 3 April-21 May 2014

  • Catalogue Essay

    Division, duplicity and fragmentation lie at the core of Alighiero Boetti’s art as much as it characterises the artist himself. Famously inserting an ‘e’ (and) between his surname and first name, Boetti embodied the notions that consumed him. Portraying his own split personality in this way, he furthered these notions in many of his works. Most famously his Mappa series (1971-92) brought to fore the nationalistic divides that define and split people across the globe. Alternandosi e Dividendosi draws distinct parallels with that project. As the title suggests, this embroidered tapestry finds structure in an alternating pattern between Western lettering and Arabic characters. Consequently, the compartmentalised boxes divide the two quite jarringly, using vibrant colour contrasts to emphasise their differences.

    Alighiero Boetti became one of the most renowned Italian artists of the twentieth century whose role as a key proponent of the Arte Povera movement was to provide the basis of his successful artistic career. However, the works that brought him most recognition were those that he produced upon leaving the group and travelling from Italy to Afghanistan.
    In 1971, Boetti made his first voyage to Afghanistan which was to finally allow him to dwell on his enduring fascination with non-Western cultures. It was here that he began to develop his cross-cultural dialogue that was to define his mature works. Working closely with local craftswomen to create embroidery works, Boetti found great inspiration in their craft as well as their traditions and language. In this context, Alternandosi e Dividendosi is the ultimate summation of this cultural exchange. Seen either as a commemoration of the coming together of two disparate cultures united in jovial colourful celebration, or as a fragmented manifestation of the divides that fracture multicultural relations, Alternandosi e Dividendosi remains open to interpretation. The political history of Afghanistan perhaps makes it more difficult to assume the latter reading as the country has succumbed to many military campaigns. In this way, Boetti uses his art to create a platform for discourse.

    Alternandosi e Dividendosi, like most of Boetti’s mature works, searches for the inherent patterns and systems that give structure to everything around us. Here, two languages are broken up into their lowest common denominators. Just like the American Neo-Dada artist Jasper Johns who painted Alphabet works and number sequences, Boetti too by extracting individual letters takes them out of a context and in this manner denies them their ability to convey meaning or information. Thus, he imbues them with a new importance, demonstrating what they represent more broadly or exposing their inherent graphic forms for aesthetic scrutiny. For these reasons, Alternandosi e Dividendosi is fundamentally a visually striking and beautiful work of art whose powerful presence is only heightened through its scale and vivacity.

Property from the Estate of Dr. Fredric S. Brandt, Miami


Alternandosi e Dividendosi

104 x 105 cm (40 7/8 x 41 3/8 in.)
Signed 'Alighiero Boetti ' on the overlap. Further stamped with gallery label along the overlap. Registered with the Archivo Alighiero Boetti, Rome, under number 1713, dated 20 December 2002. This work is accompanied by a certificate authenticity.

£250,000 - 350,000 ‡♠

Sold for £302,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 14 October 2015 7pm