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

Insicuro non curante (Insecure-Carefree)

Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
Insicuro non curante
signed 'alighiero e boetti' (on the reverse)
ballpoint pen on paper laid down on canvas, in two parts
each: 39 x 27 ¾in. (99.2 x 70.5cm.)
overall: 39 x 55 ¾in. (99.2 x 141.5cm.)
Executed in 1979
Galleria La Bertesca, Genova.
Galerie Kaess-Weiss , Stuttgart.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1992.

R. Handler, “Art. Das Kunstmagazin”, n. 4, April 1996 (illustrated, pp 76-77).
J.C. Ammann, Alighiero Boetti, Catalogo generale, Tomo secondo, Opere 1972-1979, Milan 2012, no. 1093 (illustrated in colour, p. 342).

Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Post lot text
This work is registered in the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome, under no. 341.

Brought to you by

Alessandro Diotallevi
Alessandro Diotallevi

Lot Essay

The drawings in Biro are concentrates of time, they convey to me a physical impression of extended, immense time…’ (Alighiero Boetti quoted in Alighiero Boetti. Mettere al mondo il mondo exh. cat. Frankfurt 1998, p. 59)

Comprising 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 self-reflexive, self-opposing, title, ‘Insicuro non curante’ (Insecure-Carefree) on two panels of fluctuating monochrome fields of colour.

Each of these hand-drawn colour fields has been made, by two different people according to instructions stipulated by Boetti that allow for the variation of an individual style, through a long painstaking process of cross-hatching with a coloured biro. The resultant picture is a self-defining extension in both space and time of the rules by which the work has come into being.

‘All that is important is the rule’, Boetti has said of these works, ‘Anyone who does not know it, will never recognise the prevailing order in things, just as somebody who does not know the order of the stars will always see confusion where an astronomer has a very clear view of things.’ (Boetti quoted in ibid, p. 311.)

Looking to some extent like constellations, these playful, tautological and often, as here, self-reflecting monochromes are open, self-defining images that are simultaneously full of apparent emptiness and meaning, anchored to and around a simple code. The title of this work with its structurally similar words combining to mean the polarised opposites of insecure and carefree is also the title Boetti gave to his 1975 print portfolio collection of his work from the 1960s. Like this title, with its play on words to conjure a sense of the unifying of polarised opposites, the spatial and temporal fields of Boetti’s ‘biro’ pictures offer a similar paradox - one that deconstructs and exposes the gap between what Ferdinand Saussure famously called the ‘signifier and the signified’. Typically, for Boetti though, this exposure takes the form of a beautiful and poetic pictorial expression of a fixed system and an open field of perpetual flux.

‘A word changes into a sign, into a compilation of commas which means something’ Boetti observed about such works. ‘You see, that is a rule...(but)… 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.’ (ibid p. 63)

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