Alighiero E Boetti


Italian, 1941 – 1994


Alighiero Boetti, Torino, 1970.
© Paolo Mussat Sartor, Torino.

Alighiero Boetti was born in 1940.  He attended business school, but soon left to become an artist.  He was inspired by the works of Arshile Gorky, Jean Dubuffet and Mark Rothko and went to Paris in 1962 to study engraving.  After returning to his hometown of Turin, Boetti established himself as one of the leading artists of the Arte Povera movement or Poor Art.  The artist of this movement questioned the values of government, industry, and culture.

In the early 1960s, Alighiero Boetti created works using unusual industrial materials, such as  plaster, masonite and plexiglass.  This reflects his interest in opposing thoughts such as the individual vs. a society, imperfection vs. perfection and order vs chaos.  Boetti also enjoyed collaborating with other artists.  He would often develop a concept for an artwork and allow another artist to execute his vision. One example of this are his embroidered pictures.  These works were created by women in Afghanistan. Alighiero Boetti may be best known for his embroidered maps. This body of work is called “Mappa” and he created them beginning in the 70s through to the mid 90s.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Alighiero Boetti traveled a great deal to Guatemala, Asia, Africa and eventually Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was intrigued by the cultures there that were so different from the west.  He moved away from the Arte Povera movement in the early 70s, but still retained some of the core concepts of the movement in his later works.

He exhibited his work worldwide.  Alighiero E Boetti died in Rome in 1994 at age 53.