Art In Review – Alighiero Boetti, Game Plan at Tate Modern

Alighiero Boetti, Game Plan
Tate Modern
28.02.12 – 27.05.12

“If you write ‘1970’ on a wall, it looks like nothing, nothing at all, but in 30 years time – well, every day that goes by, this date becomes more beautiful. It’s time that works – it’s all that works” – Boetti

Game Plan is an exhibition that speaks to almost everyone, in one way or another. The title refers to Boetti’s combination of playful and the conceptual. Initially arranged chronologically, after the second room the exhibition is curated and arranged according to ideas and artistic practices in keeping with the many new directions taken by Boetti’s work after 1969. Rooms filled with huge tapestries of maps in different colour ways, and what he called ‘Tutto’ (Everything). Boetti cut out images from hundreds of magazines and newspapers, assembled them in very close proximity on canvas and traced their outlines. The canvases were then embroidered in every available colour. Hierarchies collapse as images from very different places occupy the same plane.


– Tutto

Boetti was interested in the different encounters viewers would have with his works and provoked the viewer to think about their senses. He was always fascinated by the idea that thinking could be a sense – as alert and responsive as seeing, hearing or feeling. Boetti challenged the conventions of self-portraiture and self-presentation by casting his signature in iron, and in a life-size bronze self-portrait made at the end of his life, the artist stands under a cascade of water as though trying to cool down a brain literally steaming with ideas.


– Self Portrait, 1993

The room titled ‘Mettere Al Mondo Il Mondo’ (Giving birth to the world), exhibits the artist’s use of biro pen to cover large sheets of paper. Commas appeared underneath or alongside a row of letters, encoding various phrases. Everyday biro created oceanic or heavenly fields of colour which from a distance, appear to be stitched. Once arranged together as single wall length pieces, they draw the viewer in and have the ability to sooth and hypnotize. After a while, Boetti delegated the work to teams of students in Rome. Each of the sheets in a multi-part work was completed by a different anonymous individual, questioning the traditional role of ‘artist’. He began to question what it could mean to work with people from another culture, letting their voices be present within his work.


– Mettere Al Mondo Il Mondo

Boetti was fascinated by esoteric and mystical thought, he was drawn to magic squares, codes, doubles and pairs, coincidences, number patterns and alchemy.

This exhibition is one not to be missed.

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