Alighiero Boetti

Born in 1940, Alighiero Boetti initially aligned himself with the Arte Povera movement before embarking on a distinct artistic trajectory of his own.

In 1972 he moved to Rome, where he discovered the pleasure of light and colours, far from the austerity of Turin. In 197, in search of a transformative experience, he found solace and inspiration in the vibrant city of Kabul, Afghanistan. His first encounter with the city marked the beginning of a profound connection that would shape Boetti’s creative journey for the next 23 years until his passing in 1994. More than a mere traveller, Boetti immersed himself in the fabric of Kabul’s culture, going so far as to establish the renowned One Hotel and making recurrent visits until the region was unsettled by the Soviet invasion in 1979.

It is Boetti’s extraordinary collaborations with Afghan craftswomen that remain his most remarkable achievements, commissioning them to craft monumental embroideries that embody the essence of his artistic vision.

As a conceptual and versatile artist, he has produced a great variety of artworks, delegating to other people the manual execution of some specific typologies, but in that case following very precise “rules of the game” and even high principles such as the 1971 Nobel Prize Jacques Monod’s “Chance and necessity”.

Among such pieces, the ballpoint pen Monochromes (blue, black, red, green) with a white coded writing coming out of the evenly doodled coloured surface; or the tapestries embroidered on cloth, not only the World Maps but also the multi-coloured “Magic Squares” of texts written in Italian and Persian as well as the “Tutto” (Everything), dense puzzles where indeed everything can be found (newspaper silhouettes, figures of animals and shapes of domestic objects ...).

Alighiero Boetti exposed his works 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). Works of his were exposed at six editions of the Venice Biennale; his personal exhibition room in the 1990 edition was awarded a special prize, and a posthumous homage show was presented in the 2001 edition.

Mulas boetti 2


Solo exhibitions
Country, Exhibition Name, Location
I, Autoritratto, 1993, Sant’Andrea de Scaphis, Roma
I, Alighiero Boetti, Photocopies, (Color= Realta’, B/W= Astrazione (A Parte Le Zebre) Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Agata Boetti, Tornabuoni Arte e la Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venezia
BOETTI / SALVO, VIVERE LAVORANDO GIOCANDO Curated by Bettina Della Casa, Museo D’arte Della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano
UK, Alighiero Boetti Magie straordinarie, works on paper, Sprovieri, London
F, Alighiero Boetti, Tornabuoni Art, Paris
I, Alighiero Boetti: Minimum/Maximum Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, Tornabuoni Arte e la Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venezia
UK, Alighiero Boetti, Flora Hauser, Ibid gallery, London
B, Alighiero Boetti, Galerie Maruani Mercier, Bruxelles
UK, Alighiero Boetti, Embroideries, Ben Brown fne arts, London
I, Alighiero Boetti, Tornabuoni art, London
USA, Tutto Alighiero e Boetti, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
I, Alighiero Boetti. Il filo del pensiero, Accademia delle arti del disegno, Firenze
USA, Bochner and Boetti. Verba volant scripta manent, Totah gallery, New York
D, Alighiero Boetti, Meyer Riegger Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe
ES, Alighiero Boetti, Pelaires Centre Cultural Contemporani, Palma di Mallorca
USA, Alighiero e Boetti: Insicuro Noncurante, Ierimonti Gallery, New York
UK, Alighiero Boetti, Galleria Mazzoleni, London
I, Alighiero Boetti, A PRIVATE COLLECTION, Luxembourg & Dayan, London
I, Alighiero Boetti: Tra Sè e Sè Abbracciare Il Mondo, Galleria Christian Stein, Milano
I, Alighiero Boetti: Tra Sè e Sè Abbracciare Il Mondo, CasaMadre, Napoli
B, Alighiero Boetti, Patrick de Brock Gallery, Knokke-Heist
UK, Alighiero Boetti: I Colori, Luxembourg and Dayan, London
SE, Alighiero Boetti, Selected Works, McCabe Fine Art, Stockholm
USA, Alighiero Boetti, Dia Beacon, Reggio Galleries, Beacon
QA, Alighiero Boetti, Katara Cultural Village Foundation, Doha
I, Alighiero e Boetti, Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti, Milano
USA, La Forze del Centro, Gladstone Gallery, New York
I, Alighiero Boetti a Roma, Fondazione Maxxi, Roma
CH, Alighiero Boetti - Alighiero e Boetti, Galerie Guy Bartschi, Carouge
UK, Alighiero Boetti, Work on paper, Galleria Sprovieri, London
UK, Game Plan, Tate Modern, London
UK, Alighiero Boetti, Sprüth Magers, London
Group exhibitions
Country, Exhibition Name, Location
IND, The Grand Italian Vision. The Farnesina Collection, The Centre for Contemporary Art at the Bikaner House, Delhi
I, RI-EVOLUTION - I grandi rivoluzionari dell’Arte italiana, dal Futurismo alla Street Art, Palazzo della Cultura di Catania, Catania
PRC, Italian Contemporary Art and Artists on the Silk Road, Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum, Beijing
D, On the Value of Time: New Presentation of the Collection of Contemporary Art, Museum Ludwig, Cologne
UK, Thread Routes, MASSIMODECARLO, London
PRC, Thread Routes, Massimo De Carlo, Hong Kong
F, In Bloom, MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique, Paris
F, Vita Nuova - nouveaux enjeux de l'art en italia 1960-1975, Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice
I, Stop Painting, Fondazione Prada, Venezia
I, Chess Game Curated by Bettina Della Casa, Massimo De Carlo, Milano
F, Step by Step: Visions of an Art Dealer’s Collection, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco
I, MCMXXXIV, Massimo De Carlo, Milano
USA, The Warmth of Other Suns, The Phillips Collection, Washington DC
RUS, General Rehearsal: A show in three acts from the collections of V-A-C, MMOMA and KADIST Moscow, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow
I, Unico e Ripetibile, La Triennale di Milano, Milano
I, Versus. La sfida dell'artista al suo modello in un secolo di fotografia e disegno Curated by Andrea Bruciati, Daniele De Luigi, Serena Goldoni, Galleria Civica di Modena, Modena
USA, Arte Povera: Curated by Ingvild Goetz, Hauser & Wirth, New York
I, The Restless Earth, La Triennale di Milano, Milano
UK, Summer Group Show, Jerome Zodo Gallery, London
USA, Margherita Stein: Rebel With a Cause, Magazzino Italian Art, New York
I, Energy Thought Beauty: Everything is Connected, Forte di Belvedere, Firenze
I, È solo un inizio.1968, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Roma
I, L’emozione del COLORI nell’arte, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea and Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of Turin, Rivoli
USA, After the Future: The Postwar Italian Avant-Garde, Levy Gorvy Gallery, New York
IL, Red over Yellow: A Selection from a Private Collection, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
UK, Poor Art | Arte Povera: Italian Influences, British Responses, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London
USA, Verba Volant Scripta Manent, David Totah Gallery, New York
CH, The Free Design, Art Bärtschi & Cie, Geneve
USA, Identity Revisted, The Warehouse, Dallas
I, #invisibile: solo arte italiana!, La Galleria Giuseppe, Milano
UK, Metamorphosis: the alchemists of matter, A point of view on Arte Povera 1964-1991, Repetto Gallery, London
USA, Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists Curated by Cornelia Lauf, MOCA , Cleveland


Author, Publication Title, Date
Conte, Paolo, Corriere della Sera, 29 May
Artdaily, January
Campanini, Cristiana, la Repubblica - Milano, December 4,
Marie Claire, December
di Genova, Arianna, il manifesto
Vogue, December 16,
Conta, Silvia, Exibart, December 16,
Merjian, Ara H., Artforum, November
Harris, Gareth, The Art Newspaper, May
Rooney, Kara L., Brooklyn Rail, April 6
Pincus-Witten, Robert, Artforum, April
Balasubramanyam, Rajeev, Frieze, June, July, August
Smith, Roberta, The New York Times, March 8
Duva, Deborah, inventario, June
con-fine, Spring
Jana, Reena, ART AUCTION, July, August
Bordignon, Elena, Vogue Italia online, November 26
Artribune, January-February
Lerner, Ben, Art in America, June-July
Rubinstein, Raphael, The Brooklyn Rail, September
Wallace, Ian, Huffington Post, September 12
Lanz-Frolio, Laura, Time Out New York, June 28 - July 4
Lovatt, Anna, Artforum, March
Schwabsky, Barry, The Nation, April 23
Bonito Oliva, Achille, La Repubblica, 11th december
Cosenz, Stefano, INSIDEART, October
Diez, Renato, Arte, November
Lovatt, Anna, ARTFORUM, March
Hindry, Ann, Beaux Arts, December
Plagens, Peter, Wall Street Journal, August 31
Nero, Spring-Summer
Pini, Francesca, Sette, 18 March

Public collections

Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
MUMOK – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien
Inhotim Collection, Minas Gerais
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
FRAC Bourgogne – Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain de Bourgogne, Dijon
FRAC Rhône–Alpes – Institut d’Art Contemporain / Nouveau Musée, Villeurbanne
Francois Pinault Collection, Paris
Musée d’Art Moderne Lille Métropole, Villeneuve d’Ascq
Musée d’Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne
Musée des Beaux - Arts, Nantes
Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Goetz Collection, Munich
LWL - Landesmuseum für Kunst und kulturgeschichte, Münster
MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
Castello di Rivoli - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli
Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino
Gallerie di Palazzo Leoni Montanari, Vicenza
GNAM – Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Roma
Museo Casabianca, Malo
Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento
Palazzo Grassi, Venezia
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz
Fundació Suñol, Barcelona
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
Kunstmuseum, Lucerne
Migros Museum, Zurich
United Kingdom
Tate, London
United States of America
Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson


Alighiero Boetti