ALIGHIERO BOETTI (1940-1994)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
ALIGHIERO BOETTI (1940-1994)

Oggi è l’undicesimo giorno del sesto mese dell’anno 1000novecentoottantotto (Today is the eleventh day of the sixth month of the year 1988)

Details
ALIGHIERO BOETTI (1940-1994)
Oggi è l’undicesimo giorno del sesto mese dell’anno 1000novecentoottantotto (Today is the eleventh day of the sixth month of the year 1988)
signed, titled, inscribed and dated 'alighiero e boetti UNDICI GIORNO PESHAWAR 1988' (on the overlap)
embroidered tapestry
43½ x 42 1/8in. (110.5 x 107.3cm.)
Executed in 1988
Provenance
Galerie Kaess Weiss, Stuttgart.
Anon. sale, Christie's New York, 16 November 2001, lot 461.
Gallery Seomi, Seoul.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's New York, 13 November 2003, lot 542A.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Exhibited
Stuttgart, Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Alighiero e Boetti, 1990, p. 3 (illustrated in colour, p. 4; incorrectly titled Undici Giugno)
Frankfurt, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Alighiero e Boetti: Mettere al Mondo il Mondo, 1998, p. 336.
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 recorded in Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome, under no. 969.
Sale room notice
Please note that all lots should be marked with a dagger symbol. This means that unless exported out of the EU within 90 days of collection or unless you are VAT registered in, and will ship to, another EU State, VAT of 20% will be payable on the hammer price and buyer’s premium. Please see the conditions of sale in the back of the catalogue for further guidance or contact Neil Millen (nmillen@christies.com / 0771 769 3835) for information on VAT refunds.

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Katharine Arnold
Katharine Arnold

Lot Essay

‘Boetti sometimes opens up a new experience in which we read words differently and appreciate the shapes and colours of letters, rather than just approaching language for its information and instrumental purposes’ (M. Godfrey, Alighiero e Boetti, London 2009, pp. 128-129).

Executed in 1988, Alighiero Boetti’s Oggi e l’undicesimo giorno del sesto mese dell’anno 1000 novecento ottantootto is a particularly comprehensive example of Boetti’s great series of Arazzi (Tapestries) that serve as a kind of compendium, or pantheon perhaps, of many of the artist’s favourite themes, philosophies and axioms. In this work Boetti offers a linguistic riddle embedded within each block of sixteen squares. Beginning at the top left are the words ‘imaginando tutto’, which poetically translates to ‘imagining all’. Following this progression, the sentence directly below this square on the second row spells out the artist’s name: ‘Alighiero e Boetti’. The patterns snake around the composition, leading the viewer to the title at the centre of the composition in a large nine-by-nine grid: Oggi è l’undicesimo giorno del sesto mese dell’anno 1000 novecentoottantotto, which translates to ‘Today is the eleventh day of the sixth month of the year’. This is followed by the inscription ‘All’amato Pantheon’, which translates to ‘Beloved Pantheon’. Creating a cross through the centre of the composition, the words ‘Peshawar’ and ‘Pakistan’ are strung both vertically and horizontally across the entirety of the grid, a nod to the location where the work was created.

Founded on his principles of ordine e disordine (the notion that the world consists entirely of a yin and yang-like division of order and disorder), the Arazzo are a colourful composite of organised disorder. Decrypting the puzzle of colours and symbols, Arazzi reveal themselves to be written texts consisting of individual letters each highlighted or obscured against a contrasting square, whose background colour was determined by the Afghan women embroidering these works according to Boetti’s guidelines. By splitting the text into its own constituent parts - its individual letters - Boetti exposes language as a sophisticated but nonetheless artificial systematic arrangement of form. This organising principle informs the strict formal ordering and visual rhythm of the work. As Mark Godfrey suggests, ‘Boetti sometimes opens up a new experience in which we read words differently and appreciate the shapes and colours of letters, rather than just approaching language for its information and instrumental purposes’ (M. Godfrey, Alighiero e Boetti, London 2009, pp. 128-129).
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