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Boetti and Melotti, Uptown

By Peggy Roalf   Friday May 27, 2016

Works by Alighiero Boettie (1940-1994), the Italian conceptual artist whose opus came to a wider view in New York through MoMA’s 2012 retrospective, Game Plan can now be seen in a small show at Gladstone Gallery, uptown. 

Originating in the Arte Povera ethic that emerged in Europe during the 1960s, he became part of a group of experimental artists that included Michangelo Pistoletto and Fausto Melotti. Complications and ambiguities are written into Boetti’s highly conceptual work, which touched on scientific theories, distribution of information and social responsibility. In using discarded materials early in his career, he shaped the direction of collaboration as a working method, using repetition and accident as means of exploring the world beyond art, in countries outside of his own.

He began using embroidery, worked by his wife and collaborator, Annemarie Sauzeau. The first results were a map of Israel taken from a newspaper article published during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. Soon thereafter, he traveled to Africa, East and Central Asia and the Middle East, settling on Afghanistan in 1971 as the well from which he would draw his subsequent works. By then he had distanced himself from Arte Povera, and changed the notation of his name, Alighiero Boetti, to Alighiero e Boetti: Alighiero and Boetti—expressing the dual nature of his approach to art and life, as well as indicating that collaborations were done between himself and his alter ego.

 

 

In Kabul, Afghanistan, he met the Afghan craftswomen from whom he would commission an extended series of embroidered works that reflected the changing borders of conflict zones—worked according to his direction as to size and layout, but realized in collaboration, according to their preferences as to color and traditional designs used in the borders. More

During the last year of his life, Boettie created a series called “Tutto,” or “Everything”, which are more akin to overall textile designs. Like jigsaw puzzles, these are chaotic jumbles of images on the themes and concepts of his life’s work, including maps, letterforms, creatures, musical instruments, knives, scissors, twins—everyday objects that reflect his art notions of multiplicity, duality and division, executed in closely related complementary colors.

A number of these tapestries are currently on view at the uptown outpost of Gladstone Gallery, located in the recently renovated Edward Durrell Stone townhouse, at 130 East 64th Street; continuing through June 30. 212-753-2200.

 

 

At Hauser & Wirth, on East 69th Street, a splendid assortment of works by Fausto Melotti, including a number of his poetic wire sculptures, castings and several works on paper, are on view through June 18th (above). 32 East 69th Street, NY, NY. Info

 


Installation views from the preview of Moholy-Nagy: Future Present, are now included in yesterday’s post.
Photos: Peggy Roalf


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