Alighiero Boetti (1940–1994), was an Italian conceptual artist mostly known for his embroidered works including the famous ‘Mappa’ pieces.
From the early 1960s, he was one of the leading artists of the Arte Povera movement, which focusses on the usage of unusual, modest materials and had an anti-elitist message. A decade later however, he disassociated himself from the movement and began his famous tapestries, employing wordplay in Italian, also with Arabic calligraphy. It was during this period where his dual persona emerged, renaming himself as Alighiero e Boetti (meaning Alighiero and Boetti) and self taught to write and draw ambidextrously, representing the theme of duality and opposing factors in his work.
Many of Boetti’s works addressed a large variety of poetic themes, based on folkloric anecdotes he discovered during his travels. Boetti often designed textiles to be embroidered in artisan workshops, resulting in a body of work that crossed national borders, embracing traditional art forms rooted in tradition, collaboration, and ritualistic meanings of creation. From 1987 until his death, Boetti was completely absorbed in the creation of his largest and most complex tapestry, ‘Tutto’, which was to represent the rich cultural diversity of the world. Although he passed away in 1994 before its completion, his work continues to be written about and studied as an important paradigm in the field of contemporary art.
He has been exhibited Internationally during his life and death, including Milan, Switzerland, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Brussels, London, Frankfurt and many more.