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

Mettere al mondo il mondo (Bringing the world into the world)

Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
Mettere al mondo il mondo
(Bringing the world into the world)
signed and dated 'alighiero boetti gennaio 1973' (on the reverse)
ballpoint pen on paper laid down on canvas, in two parts
each: 27 3/4 x 39 1/8in. (70.5 x 99.5cm.)
overall: 55 1/2 x 39 1/8in. (141 x 99.5cm.)
Executed in 1973
Galleria La Bertesca, Genova.
Galerie Kaess-Weiss , Stuttgart.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1993.
J.C. Ammann, Alighiero Boetti, Catalogo generale, Tomo secondo, Opere 1972-1979, Milan 2012, no. 462 (illustrated in colour, p. 84)

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. 301.

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Alessandro Diotallevi
Alessandro Diotallevi

Lot Essay

Executed in 1973, Mettere al mondo il mondo (Bringing the world into the world) is a unique black biro diptych from an important series of predominantly blue biro works bearing this title that Boetti made between 1972 and ’73.

Like the other works in this series, this diptych comprises of two near identical rectangular panels in which the words ‘mettere al mondo il mondo’ are written using a system of white commas matched to the appropriate letter of the alphabet and set against a monochrome background of colour that has been filled in using a sequence of short strokes with a biro. Created according to the same rules, each of these panels was hand-coloured by a different person whose identity deliberately remains anonymous. According to Boetti’s specifications, one of these panels was to be coloured by a man and the other by a woman. In this way, the two identical panels become a paired diptych in which each half of the work is distinguishable from the other only through the difference in the manner of its colouring.

As a part of this mimetic twinning and dividing, the diptych is entitled ‘mettere al mondo il mondo’ - a phrase that often appears in Boetti’s work and which describes one of the central tenets of his art. It is a phrase that translates from the Italian as both ‘putting the world into the world’ and as ‘giving birth to the world’ and which articulates Boetti’s ideal of authoring works of art where nothing has been invented and the world is tautologically revealed to be how it is. ‘The greatest joy in the world’, he once said, ‘consists in inventing the world the way it is without inventing anything in the process.’ ( Alighiero Boetti, ‘Interview with Mirella Bandini’, 1972, reproduced in Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972, exh. cat., Tate, 2001, p. 190).

In this work and according to this principle, the phrase ‘mettere al mondo il mondo’ is simultaneously both revealed and concealed in the seemingly abstract coded system of commas that, like stars in the night sky, shows an entire world simultaneously both united and divided by itself.

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