Alighiero Boetti

1940 - 1994

Born in Turin (IT), died in Rome (IT).

Alighiero Boetti (Alighiero e Boetti) was a conceptual artist who was part of the Arte Povera movement in Italy during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Boetti began as a painter and sculptor. His art gradually evolved to encompass the fundamental concerns of human life, such as time and space, sameness (identity) and otherness (alterity). Taking keen interest in culture and politics, Boetti travelled extensively, including to places such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, becoming interested in non-Western traditions. He was fascinated by the idea of ‘twinning’, even adding ‘e’ (‘and’ in Italian) between his two names in order to facilitate a dialogue between his two selves. Under this redoubled identity, Alighiero e Boetti created his most iconic work, the map of all the world’s countries and flags embroidered by Afghan women in Kabul and Peshawar. The many versions (1971–1994) reflected the changes caused by ‘artillery attacks, air raids, and diplomatic negotiations’.

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