Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of “Biro” works by Alighiero e Boetti (1940-1994). Consisting of ball-point pen ink on paper mounted on canvas, these works are from a series which began in Rome in 1972 and continued through the late 1980s. Collaborating with assistants, Boetti used four standard ink colors (blue, black, red and green) to mark small repetitive strokes, often covering the entire sheet. The artist would leave letters and symbols (often commas) as exposed white ground or negative space. This exhibition includes works representing each type of iconography that Boetti used in his design of these visual structures.
Many of the works contain puzzles, puns and linguistic codes, wherein letters of the alphabet run horizontally or vertically along the margin of the sheet. This line of letters creates a composition that becomes graph-like, and the title of the work is often revealed as the viewer connects commas with corresponding letters horizontally and vertically. In some works like I sei sensi, 1973 and Dimenticare il tempo perduto, 1982 the charting of commas extends across two, even five panels. This unlocking of the artist’s created system simulates the very basic way in which the human mind apprehends and functions, unfolding worlds and bringing new meaning up through the medium and into the light.
A publication will be available with reproductions of every work in the exhibition. A small survey exhibition “Alighiero e Boetti” at The Arts Club of Chicago will run concurrently, 24 January – 6 April 2002, for which there will also be a publication. The exhibition is curated by Kathy Cottong.