Alighiero Boetti is an Italian artist who became known for his involvement with the modern art movement Arte Povera. I was introduced to his work through his mid-career retrospective at MoMa, Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan that is on view until October 1. The large bright textiles demand the attention of the (often chaotic) arena that is MoMa’s atrium. I particularly appreciated Boetti’s interest in chance and process. Between 1971 and 1979 Boetti would often travel to Kabul, Afghanistan where he became interested in textiles and embroidery. He collaborated with local artisans to create works like, Tutto and Mappa. He made many maps during this time period, by tracing a world map onto canvas, color coordinating with each country’s map and then giving the outline to Afghan craftswoman to create the final tapestry. In 1979, unfamiliar with images of maps and with extra fabric to be used, the embroiders colored in the oceans with excess pink thread. Boetti welcomed and appreciated this chance change in process and continued to let the craftswomen choose what colors they wanted to use. I was impressed with how accessible Alighiero Boetti’s work is and the way the giant embroideries engage the space.
I highly recommend you read more about his background and story here & go check out his retrospective before it closes at the end of the month.