Executed in 1988, Alighiero Boetti’s Sciogliersi come neve al sole is a poetic example of the artist’s large and wide ranging series, the Arazzi. Comprising of a white grid of 5 by 5 squares which are filled by white letters, Sciogliersi come neve al sole presents a playful word game: the seemingly random distribution of letters is in fact highly regulated, legible only to those who have decoded the artist’s formula. When read in vertical columns from left to right, the individual letters spell out the title of the work. In contrast to the colour filled appearance of many of Boetti’s other Arazzi, in the present work, the embroidery, executed by Afghan women whom the artist commissioned to carry out these works, is white, creating a mystical, poeticism that heightens the lyrical title, Sciogliersi come neve al sole (Melting like snow in the sun).
Boetti stated that the poetic phrase, Sciogliersi come neve al sole which he used in a number of Arazzi as well as in an extended version, in his Mappe series, referred to love. In a letter of 1992 the artist wrote:
‘How one should understand ‘Scogliersi come neve al sole pensando a te a noi’ (‘Melting like the snow in the sun in thoughts of you, of us’): Whom I was addressing my thoughts to back then, I no longer know. Most certainly it was a lady, a woman. After all, you melt because of heat and heat is what you receive with love, with erotic tension, with emotional being. All of this is energy. Energy = heat and heat melts the snow (the white)’
(Boetti quoted in R. Lauter, Alighiero Boetti: Mettere al Mondo il Mondo, exh. cat., Frankfurt, 1998, p. 73).
'Come intendere sciogliersi come il neve al sole pensando da te a noi: Chi fosse il destinario del mio pensiero non lo ricordo. Certamente una donna, una femmina. Ci si scioglia per il calore, il calore si acquista con l'amore, la tensione erotica, l'esistenza emotiva. Tutto ciò è energia; energia=calore, il calore scioglia la neve (bianca)' (Boetti quoted in R. Lauter, Alighiero Boetti: Mettere al Mondo il Mondo, exh. cat., Frankfurt, 1998, p. 73).
The Arazzi came to be the embodiment of Boetti’s belief that the unity of the world comprises entirely of a harmony of opposites based on the coexistence of order and disorder. Within the geometric square, words are split apart into letters, creating a composite of organised disorder. On first glance, these letters can be appreciated not for their semantic meaning within a word, but instead as autonomous shapes and forms. By splitting the text into its own constituent parts, Boetti exposes language as a sophisticated but ultimately, an artificial and systematic arrangement of form. An amalgamation of image, writing and language, Sciogliersi come neve al sole is an embodiment of Boetti’s favourite themes and philosophies, presenting the central tenets of the artist’s prolific oeuvre.