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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION


signed and dated 'Boetti 67' (on the reverse)
industrial paint on wood
9 ½ x 7 1/8 x 2 ¾in. (24 x 18 x 7cm.)
Executed in 1967
Private Collection, United Kingdom.
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, no. 9533, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Brought to you by

Barbara Guidotti
Barbara Guidotti Head of Sale, Thinking Italian, Art

Lot Essay

A relic from a pivotal moment in art history, Celant (1967) is a tribute from Alighiero Boetti to Germano Celant: the towering critic, historian and curator who launched the Arte Povera movement. 1967 was a crucial year for both men, and for post-war Italian culture at large. Boetti’s first solo show opened in January at Galleria Christian Stein, in his home city of Turin. In September, Galleria La Bertesca in Genoa hosted Celant’s seminal group show Arte povera Im Spazio, which included Boetti’s works alongside those of others such as Pino Pascali, Jannis Kounellis, Luciano Fabro, and Giulio Paolini. Finally, in November, Celant published his manifesto ‘Arte Povera: Appunti per una guerriglia’ (‘Arte Povera: notes for a guerrilla war’), in the journal Flash Art. In this groundbreaking declaration, Celant identified a revolutionary art emerging in Italy: ‘a poor art, committed to contingency, to events, to the non-historical, to the present … to an anthropological viewpoint, to the “real” man … and to the hope (in fact now the certainty) of being able to shake entirely free of every visual discourse that presents itself as univocal and consistent’ (G. Celant, 1967, trans. H. Martin, ‘In memory of Germano Celant’, Flash Art, 29 April 2020). In Celant, Boetti presents the curator’s surname in three-dimensional, lower-case text affixed like a logo to a sculptural, box-like support. The entire work is painted in glossy teal, lending it an automotive gleam that echoes nothing less than the popular blu turchese colour of the Fiat 500 – an icon of Italian industry.

Encouraged by the wave of anti-establishment feeling that swept Europe in the late 1960s – with widespread students’ and workers’ protests peaking in what became known in Italy as the sessantotto lungo or ‘long ’68’ – the Arte Povera artists, as Celant saw it, posited a vitally new and direct relationship between art and society that would change the world. In his own early works, Boetti used everyday hardware-store materials such as plexiglass, PVC tubing, plywood, military fabric and electric wire, which reflected the post-war industrialisation of northern Italy. ‘Alighiero Boetti reinvents the inventions of human beings’, Celant wrote. ‘His gestures are no longer an accumulation or an interweaving of signs, but the signs of accumulation and of interweaving’ (G. Celant, ibid.). Just twenty-seven years old when he wrote his manifesto, Celant’s defining of Arte Povera made a seminal contribution to the Italian avant-garde. He went on to champion, analyse and curate the work of this generation of artists over the next five decades, authoring or editing over 200 books, including the catalogues raisonnés of Piero Manzoni, Mimmo Rotella and Carla Accardi, and curating the sweeping retrospective The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1994. A lovingly handmade form that playfully apes the slick finish of mass production, Boetti’s Celant is a summation of the Arte Povera ethos, and a fitting monument to the man who started it all.

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