Today (February 28th) saw the opening of a new exhibition at London’s Tate Modern, celebrating the life’s work of one of the one of the most important and influential Italian artists of the 20th century – Alighiero Boetti.
Born in 1940, Boetti was a key member of the Arte Povera group of young Italian artists in the late 1960s who developed a radical style incorporating materials and structures previously unseen in the art world.
The retrospective is the first solo show by an Arte Povera artist at the Tate Modern and so could be well worth a visit for those staying at top hotels in London over the coming weeks.
Boetti experimented with many different art forms, using industrial materials associated with Turin’s booming economy and later making works using postage stamps, biro pens and magazine covers.
He also led an interesting and eventful life, at one point moving to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he opened a hotel.
This experience helped inspire the works for which he his most famous: a series of large colourful embroideries, the most well-known of which are the Mappa – world maps in which each country features the design of its national flag.
Reviewing the exhibition for the Guardian, art critic Adrian Searle explained: “Each map charted changes in the world, as revolutions in Africa, collapse in the Soviet Union and fragmentation in the former Yugoslavia came and went.
“They are exquisite, gorgeous, sorrowful things, and the room that contains them is worth the trip alone. Translations and commentaries accompany the maps.”
Other highlights of the show include works never seen before in the UK, such as the iconic Self-Portrait 1993, a life-size bronze cast of the artist hosing his head with a jet of water.
The exhibition is open until May 27th, with tickets priced at £10.