“It’s all about knowing the rules of the game. Those who don’t know the rules will never recognize the order that governs things…. I am of the opinion that each thing also contains its opposite.” Boetti’s practice was governed by his own systems wherein rules extend to not only his visual vocabulary, but to his name, incorporating himself, as artist, in his studio practice. With the addition of “e” (and) between his first and last names in 1967 the artist became “Alighiero e Boetti,” exploring dualism within identity.
“But beyond individual expression, Boetti sought to create conceptual riddles that unravel questions of humanity, society, nature and the world. Singularity and multiplicity, repetition and variation, order and disorder, alternating and dividing, etc., the artist used time itself as a medium to paraphrase principals of nature and mathematics. The placement and order of stamps on a letter could begin as a puzzle or mathematical exercise in permutation, but would end as an aesthetic creation. Likewise the ballpoint and embroidery works were conceptually Boetti, but produced by others within his rules or more accurately the rules the artist already saw existing in nature. “The ballpoint drawings are concentrated time” and concurrently pure gesture. Perhaps the most apposite statement about Boetti comes from the artist’s own woven text – concisely stated “Un’idea Brillante” (A Brilliant Idea).”
N.B. The embroideries “produced by others” were made to order in Afghanistan. Their millions of “pure gestures” were paid at a pittance and sold for a fortune. Relatively. Now that’s a brilliant idea. Not.