BERLIN.- Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers
present the work Insicuro Noncurante by Alighiero e Boetti in Berlin. The work has the form of a portfolio with 81 numbered sheets which provide an overview of the artistic production of Alighiero e Boetti from 1966 to 1975. It comprises various work forms such as original sketches and glued works, postcards and letters, but also copies of his large-format major works, to which the sheets manifest various relationships.
Alighiero Boetti, alias Alighiero e Boetti, was born in 1940 in Torino and died in 1994 in Rome. He was self-taught as an artist and abandoned his studies at the University of Torino in order to dedicate himself to art. From the middle of the 1960s onwards, he gained attention through his artistic activities. After his first exhibition in 1967, he became affiliated for a short while with the Arte Povera movement. As of the middle of the 1970s, Boetti presented himself as the fictional artistcouple Alighiero e Boetti, in order to point towards opposing factors in his oeuvre such as individuality and society, error and perfection, order and disorder.
In Insicuro Noncurante, Boetti's delight in the analysis, reorganization and hence the identification of systems of order spilled over onto his own oeuvre. It offers a personal as well as survey-like compilation of many of his most important works, along with personal sketches in a small format. One gains an impression, moreover, as to how Boetti's apartment in the Roman quarter of Trastevere looked. Hanging on the walls were objects which interested him; down below were postcards and photographs as well as his own sketches and pictures, which may be found in the portfolio.
Numerous sheets of the work provide information about the analytical and simultaneously playful involvement of the artist with such human-created systems of order as mathematics, language, and their basic elements such as numbers and letters. Sketch-like number-games on graph paper are included here, similar to a version of one of his major works entitled Classificazione dei mille fiumi più lunghi del mondo (1970-1977), which represents, in book form, a classification of the thousand longest rivers in the world and simultaneously reveals the impossibility of this sort of operation.
Also to be seen are copies of his first embroidery-works commissioned in Afghanistan in 1971, the year when Boetti discovered the country as his second homeland, along with letters and post cards which he sent to friends and to himself starting in 1969, thereby anticipating Mail art. In addition, the portfolio includes a sketch-like version of the ballpoint-pen picture Mettere al mondo il mondo. Quotation marks and letter bars are drawn here on graph paper, where they are accordingly easier to group together and to decipher than on the large-format pictures, in which the figures which are left white seem to become lost upon the background filled in with ballpoint pen, even though they belong, at the same time, to a clearly-defined system. The version on display here functions as an instructional example for how to read Boetti's pictures done in ballpoint-pen.