Boetti's map is perhaps his best-known and most celebrated work, certainly one of his highest creative expressions, that gives you the impression of possessing the artist's world, that is to say the one seen with his eyes, with the decorative motifs of the flags within the boundaries of national territories (between the first versions and those that came later, any changes to States, borders and flags were taken into account, as though wishing to bring their history up to date).
We searched hard for this example from 1979. The dimensions of the map, from our point of view, make it even more valuable. But, apart from the important date, the embroidery depicts the waves in the sea as though in "relief", accentuated by the white/blue that describes them, and their harmonious "grid" bestows a particular beauty on the entire map. These were certainly the decisive elements in our choice, but not the only ones: we were also struck by the writing around the edge: ".... Alighiero Boetti stanco di felicità e infelicità" (Alighiero Boetti tired of happiness and unhappiness). A narrative, autobiographical, emotional element that the artist wished to leave there at that moment.
The map was delivered to us in a perfect state of conservation, and we have taken much care of it: it is still perfect. This is our way of respecting the artist's greatness and of thanking him for this work which we have experienced with intensity- as one experiences, I believe, a special gift.
‘For me the work of the embroidered Mappa is the maximum of beauty. For that work I did nothing, chose nothing, in the sense that: the world is made as it is, not as I designed it, the flags are those that exist, and I did not design them; in short, I did absolutely nothing; when the basic idea, the concept, emerges everything else requires no choosing’
(Alighiero e Boetti, 1974, quoted in Alberto Boatto, Alighiero & Boetti, Ravenna, 1984, p. 122).
Boetti's Mappe - the embroidered series of world maps that he made between 1971 and 1994 in partnership with Afghan women weavers living in Kabul and later as refugees in Peshawar - are the best-known and most-loved of all his works. Reflective of the constantly changing patterns of the political world map as it moves through time, and also of a long-running and intensely personal East/West dialogue that ultimately determined much of the course of Boetti's art and life, they present a profound vision of the world as a vast, holistic and intercommunicative entity. This work is a comparatively rare early example dating from the fateful year 1979 that marked Boetti’s last visit to Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion in December.