Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)

Dodici forme dal 10 giugno 1967

Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
Dodici forme dal 10 giugno 1967
engraving on copper, in twelve parts
each: 23¼ x 16 7/8in. (59 x 43cm.)
overall: 46½ x 101 5/8in. (118 x 258cm.)
Executed in 1967-1971
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
A. Minoli, M. C. Mundici, F. Poli, M. T. Roberto, Gian Enzo Sperone Torino Roma New York. 35 anni di mostre tra Europa e America, Torino 2000 (illustrated, p. 200 and 201).
Alighiero e Boetti, exh. cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, 2001 (illustrated, p. 80).
S. Maharaj, A double-Cressing Visible Grammar: Around and About the Work of Alighiero e Boetti, New York 2004 (illustrated, p. 39).
L. Cerizza, Alighiero e Boetti, London 2008 (illustrated, p.11).
J.-C. Ammann, Alighiero Boetti, Catalogo generale, Milan 2009, vol. I, no. 349 (illustrated in colour, p. 277).
Turin, Galleria Sperone, Alighiero Boetti. 12 forme dal 10 giugno 1967, 1971.
Paris, VII Biennale de Paris, 1971 (illustrated, unpaged).
Rome, Incontri Internazionali d'Arte, Informazioni sulla presenza italiana, 1971 (illustrated, unpaged).
Rome, Parcheggio di Villa Borghese, Contemporanea, 1973-1974.
Venice, XXXVIII La Biennale di Venezia, 1978 (illustrated, unpaged).
Ravenna, Loggetta Lombardesca, Alighiero & Boetti, 1984-1985, no. 2 (illustrated, p. 33).
Bologna, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Il pensiero tangibile. Otto percorsi esemplari, 1992 (illustrated, p. 10). This exhibition later travelled to Molfetta, Sala di Templari; Lille, Château de l'Hermitage.
Bonn, Kunstverein, Alighiero e Boetti. 1965-1992, 1992-1993. This exhibition later travelled to Münster, Westfälischer Kunstverein; Lucern, Kunstmuseum.
Bruxelles, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Origine et Destination. Alighiero e Boetti - Martin Hubler, 1994.
Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Alighiero Boetti. Rétrospective, 1996-1997 (illustrated, pp. 80-83). This exhibition later travelled to Villeneuve d'Ascq, Musée d'Art Moderne; Vienna, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig.
Venice, Palazzo Querini Dubois, Minimalia. Da Giacomo Balla..., 1997-1998 (illustrated, p. 41). This exhibition later travelled to Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
Dusseldorf, Kunsthalle, Das fünfte Element - Geld oder Kunst, 2000, no. 92 (illustrated, unpaged).
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Alighiero e Boetti, 1999 (illustrated in colour, p. 46).
London, Tate Modern, Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera, 2001-2003 (illustrated, p. 197). This exhibition later travelled to Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Washington D.C., Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Rome, Academie de Frances a Rome - Villa Medici, Incontri... dalla collezione di Graziella Lonardi Buontempo, 2003 (illustrated in colour, pp. 122, 123 and 249).
Naples, Madre Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Alighiero e Boetti. Bringing the World into Art 1993-1962, 2009 (illustrated, p. 145).

Brought to you by

Beatriz Ordovas
Beatriz Ordovas

Lot Essay

This work is registred in the Archivio Boetti, Rome, under no. 3049.

Saturday, June 10, 1967: The territories occupied by Israel
Sunday Feb 4, 1968: Vietnam
Thursday, Aug 22, 1968: Czechoslovakia
Tuesday, Apr. 1, 1969: China-USSR border
Thursday, May 15, 1969, Biafra
Friday, Aug. 15, 1969: Northern Ireland
Tuesday, Sept. 2, 1969: Libya
Thursday, Sept. 10, 1970: Cambodia
Thursday, Sept. 10, 1970: Basque Country
Friday, Sept. 18, 1970: Jordan
Thursday, Feb. 4, 1971: Laos
Sunday, Mar, 28, 1971: Pakistan.

An extraordinarily evocative and even strangely elegant work that bridges Boetti's early conceptual beginnings with the wider, more open and holistic aesthetic of his mature years, Dodici forme dal 10 guigno 1967 (Twelve Shapes Starting from 10 June 1967) is one of Boetti's finest and most important early creations. Originating at the height of Boetti's involvement with arte povera, it is the first formal and cartographic crystallization of what was to become his radical concept of creating autonomous, self-determining, self-defining works of art that he called 'Mettere al mondo il mondo' (bringing the world into the world). Now standing as a kind of graphic chart that coolly catalogues the heady mixture of openness, authorless creation, political turmoil and attempted revolution that distinguishes this dramatic and vital period in the history of Italian art, Dodici forme is both the iconic precursor and the conceptual blueprint for Boetti's best-known series of works: the Mappe.
Comprising twelve sheets of copper, each engraved only with the single outline of a map, this work graphically catalogues some of the world's most serious political crises between 1967 and 1971, beginning, as its title suggests, with the territories occupied by Israel at the time of the Six Day War on 10 June 1967. As an artist heavily preoccupied with the concept of time, and with the creative properties of time, Dodici Forme represented Boetti's engagement with the fluid and ever-changing nature of the present as it was literally charted in the maps that appeared on the front pages of the daily newspapers. 'With the Dodici forme', Boetti explained, 'I started to consider the present in my work. The 'forme' were borderlines of the areas occupied by Israel. The newspapers constantly retained the same graphic depiction of these areas; one colour each for Gaza, Jerusalem, the Sinai and the Golan. It was 1967, the year of the war. I took the first page of La Stampa with the reproduction of this map, deleted everything except for the date and the map and engraved it on a copper plate. I had realized that whenever such a form appears on a newspaper title page something important must have happened In this way, I followed the ups and downs of politics through till 1971, the year when Bangladesh was founded.' (Alighiero Boetti quoted in Alighiero Boetti, exh. cat, Museum fr Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt Am Main, 1998 p. 65)
The twelve copper plates engraved with the maps of the various troublespots echo the plates used in printing and newspaper printing, and bear exactly the same dimensions as that of La Stampa - the daily newspaper from which the maps derive. Each map appears on the empty copper plate exactly where it had appeared on the front page of La Stampa but with all other details absent. Only the date of the issue (and therefore the cartographic image) is included at the top right of the plate where it had also appeared on the front page of the newspaper. The details of the dates and of countries/conflicts represented by the twelve plates is as follows:
The sequence of twelve copper plates begins with an occupation in Palestine and ends with the establishment of the new country of Bangladesh after the war with Pakistan in 1971. In this way there exists a kind of thematic sense of completion to the sequence of twelve maps, beginning and ending with maps that outline the establishment of new borderlines on the world map. In addition as Jean-Christophe Amman has noted, 'it is astounding how - by chance - these forms, when combined, produce a well-balanced composition.' (Jean-Christophe Amman, 'Alighiero Boetti's Mappa and Several Related Works' in Alighiero Boetti, Mappa exh. cat. New York, 2010, p. 15) Seeming to flow in a linear wave-like rhythm throughout the twelve plates, these maps - selected by Boetti and arranged solely by the happenstance of global politics and then the newspaper's editorial decision - collectively form an elegant graphic and linear articulation of the passage of time - the 'ups and downs of politics through till 1971'. As Boetti said of these works, 'what interested me in these drawings was the fact that they were not spawned by my imagination, but prompted by artillery attacks, air raids and diplomatic negotiations.' (Ibid)
It was in this way that this work, made over four years, came to establish the blueprint for Boetti's concept of a 'World Map' in which the arbitrary and ever-changing geopolitical outlines of each country would be openly contrasted with the holistic and seemingly unchanging unity nature of the world as a whole. His most ambitious work to date, it would be an undeniable demonstration through a familiar image of the hermetic principle of 'ordine e disordine' in action.

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