• Post War and Contemporary Art  auction at Christies

    Sale 7834

    Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction

    11 February 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 51

    Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)

    Segno e disegno (Sign and Design)

    Price Realised  


    Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
    Segno e disegno (Sign and Design)
    red ballpoint pen on three attached sheets of card laid down on board
    each: 39 3/8 x 28in. (100 x 71cm.)
    overall: 39 3/8 x 83 7/8in. (100 x 213cm.)
    Executed in 1983

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    This work is registered in the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome, under no. 684.

    'A word changes into a sign, into a compilation of commas which means something. You see, that is a rule...One of my biro works was called Seguire il filo del discorso (following the thread of the conversation). You follow the thread of these commas. To follow the thread of a conversation is tautology, and quite apart from the rule, there is the structure of the transformation of the word into a sign. This is what you must make visible, you must render the comma visible as something that is not stable, that is unstable, and these small white points stand on a background hatched by another hand.' (Alighiero Boetti cited in Alighiero Boetti. Mettere al mondo il mondo exh. cat. Frankfurt 1998, p. 63)

    Consisting of a sequence of commas, laid out in a systemised grid according to the letters of the alphabet arranged vertically at the side of the work, Boetti's coded linguistic system spells out (left-to-right) its title Segno e disegno (Sign and Design) against a fluctuating red monochrome field. This field has been made, by at least two people, one male the other female, according to instructions stipulated by Boetti and allowing for a variation of individual style, through a long painstaking process of cross-hatching with a red biro.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stuttgart.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1998.

    Pre-Lot Text