Alighiero Boetti was born in Turin on December 16th 1940.
Between 1963 and 1965 he experimented with materials such as plaster, masonite, plexiglass and luminous devices.
His first works are drawings on china paper of industrial objects for recording such as microphones, film cameras or cameras, engravings and monotypes that will be exhibited for the first time in Paris only in 1981.
It is from 1966 ‘Lampada Annuale’ which lights up only for a few moments only once a year. He made his debut in the field of Arte Povera in January 1967.
In 1968 he presented the ‘Colonne’ of pressed papers by Stein, at the De Nieubourg Gallery.
In 1969 at the Kunsthalle in Bern he inaugurated the collective exhibition “When Attitude Become Form” curated by Harald Szeemann.
The peak touched by the Arte Povera movement will allow its individual artists, from now on, to follow their own artistic journey at an international level.
From this period are ‘Cimento dell’armonia e dell’impresa’ and ‘Planisfero politico’ working on a geographic map.
Alighiero Boetti has been working on languages and serialization since the 1970s, also operating on his own name divided into Alighiero & Boetti.
From 1971 the series of embroidered ‘Maps’ begins in which the areas of the national territories correspond to the symbols of the flags: in the margin other inscriptions and dates of execution; in them, according to Boetti, the artist’s intervention is limited to the basic idea, since the execution of the work is entrusted to Afghan women.
Also in 1971 Boetti was invited to the VII Biennial of Paris in an exhibition curated by A. Bonito Oliva.
It is defined as a conceptual artist, versatile and kaleidoscopic, it produces a great variety of types of works and for some delegates the manual execution to others, but always according to very precise rules of the game and principles like that of necessity and chance to mention Jacques Monod Nobel Prize in Physics 1971.
In 1972 the biro monochromes were born (blue, black, red, green) in which the dotted pattern on paper depicts the language; equally all the embroidered works on cloth, not only the Maps of the world but also certain compositions of letters, always square and multicolored (on the model Order and disorder); finally the Tutto, dense puzzles in which you really find everything: pictures from magazines, desk objects, animal shapes and much more.
In the same year, Alighiero Boetti, moved to Rome and it was in this period that he began to sign “Alighiero & Boetti” thus completing the squaring of his name and surname, which became 16 letters, and at the same time his symbolic splitting between private sphere with the name and public sphere with the surname. In April he participates in the collective exhibition “De Europa” by John Weber in New York and in the summer at the XXXVI Venice Biennale.
He also became a pioneer and protagonist of Conceptual Art in Italy, thanks also to his interests in philosophy, mathematics and alchemy.
There are also many works by Boetti of his own exclusively: in the early 70s, the many ‘exercises’ in pencil on squared paper, based on musical or mathematical rhythms; starting from the 1980s, the postal works, played on the mathematical permutation of the stamps, on the random adventure of the postal journey and on the secret beauty of the sheets sent in the envelopes; Finally, in the 80s and 90s, the colorful compositions and mixed media on paper in which run rows of animals, mindful of the Etruscan or Pompeian decoration.
In the middle of the decade he returned to painting in the cycle of paintings entitled ‘Aircraft’ from 1977.
Alighiero Boetti has exhibited 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).
He has been present six times at the Venice Biennale, with a personal room awarded in the 1990 edition and a posthumous tribute in 2001.
His work and his choices as an artist have strongly influenced the next generation and many young people of the new millennium, in Italy and in the world.