Alighiero e Boetti

Victoria Boogie Woogie (1972)
19 April - 2 June 2001
Sperone Westwater, New York

Press release

Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of early conceptual works by Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994), featuring one of his first postal works, “Untitled” – Victoria Boogie Woogie, which has not been exhibited since 1973.  The exhibition will also include Boetti’s first embroidery piece, (16 dicembre 2040 11 luglio 2023), along with several key early works which were executed in Torino in the late sixties/early seventies.

Alighiero Boetti/“Unititled” – Victoria Boogie Woogie 1972/5040 envelopes/35,280 stamps/All Permutations of Seven/Italian Stamps/The Letters Were All Mailed/By The Artist From Different/Cities To Himself In Turin, reads the title page and is the first of 43 framed postal collages, each containing 120 self-addressed, stamped envelopes.

The number 5040, or (120x42 panels), or (7x6x5x4x3x2x1), was the number of permutations that could be derived from a sequencing of  the 7 Italian stamps, totaling 200 lire of postage. The structural framework of Boetti’s postal works was inspired by the materials and actions of everyday life.  The result is metaphoric and spectacularly visual -- the exploding grid and decorative syncopation of these stamps allude to Mondrian in the work’s title.  In discussing Boetti’s postal works, Francesco Clemente has remarked, “These skills and activities can be meditative...repetitive actions to measure and structure the activities of the day...”

In 11 luglio 2023 16 dicembre 2040, 1971, two dates have been embroidered using a traditional Suzanni embroidering technique.  Both this historically significant embroidery and its precursor, an engraved metal work of the same title, will be included.   The first date predicts his death, the second date is the centenary of his birth.  Such poetic propositions measured time through ritual, whether posting a letter or sewing a stitch.  Other works in the exhibition engage similar synchronistic data, such as Calligrafia, 1971 the names and addresses of people living in different regions of Italy, who had the same telephone number as the artist in 1971.  Another work, Grigio Dover, Bleu Cannes, Beige Sabbia, Rosso Gilera, 1967, a four-part work consists of four monochromes, each sprayed with a different color industrial motorcycle paint, where the name of the color is embossed on the panel’s surface and also acts as the work’s title.

Artists in this Exhibition