This work is registered in the Archivio Alighieri Boetti, Rome, under number 73/BP/2.
Executed in January 1973, Untitled has a string of seemingly unreadable gibberish letters that are marked out in reserve, surrounded by dense hatching in biro. Yet on closer inspection, the letters are revealed to form a phonetic list of the letters comprising Boetti's name (the English language equivalent might read A E ELL I GEE AITCH I E AR O etc).
Fascinated as he was by all systems and human constructs, Boetti was intrigued by language, letters and their potential. By imposing a form of disorder onto the order of letters and onto the way in which we read, he exploded our preconceptions about language and revealed the deeper, more fundamental precepts of language while also forcing us to contemplate the power of letters, words and names in a new manner. Three years earlier, in 1970, Boetti had rearranged the letters of his name in alphabetical order: ABEEGHIIILOORTT, creating a word that appears nonsensical yet teeters tantalisingly on the brink of legibility. Yet underneath the superficial nonsense of the sequence of letters, two strong linguistic systems are at play, the first of naming, the second of the alphabet. Likewise, in the present work, Boetti has used phonetics to add a vocal aspect to his work, both deconstructing and celebrating the power of letters to convey information. Disorder has again given way to a new understanding of order.
Despite the fact that Boetti's own name is the subject matter in Untitled, the veneer of autobiography is undermined on the one hand by the obtuse spelling the encrypting of the artist's name and also by the fact that he himself did not execute his biro works. Despite the use of biro, a simple 'povera' medium, the deep blue hatching of Untitled has a richness reminiscent of embroidery recalling the fascination with the East that was already making itself evident in Boetti's works. This Eastern aspect is extended to the use of commissioned artisans to create his biro works, which were all commissioned to other people. Their traces are clear in the painstakingly filled expanse of this sheet, meticulously hatched over a vast space of time, the very real proof of the impact of Boetti's existence on another human being. At the same time, Boetti has managed to dissipate the concept of a person, of autobiography, of personality. He has deliberately detracted from the idea of the artist as a sole and divine creator.