Alighiero Boetti

(1940, in Turin, Italy – 1994 in Rome, Italy)

Alighiero Fabrizio Boetti known as Alighiero e Boetti was an italian conceptual artist, considered to be a member of the art movement Arte Povera.

Alighiero Boetti was born in Turin, to Corrado Boetti, a lawyer, and Adelina Marchisio, a violinist. Boetti abandoned his studies at the business school of the University of Turin to work as an artist. Already in his early years, he shown a deep interest in numerous topics, such as philosophy, alchemy,mathematics, music and esoterics. Among his favourite authors there were the German writer Hermann Hesse and the Swiss-German painter and Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee.

At the age of seventeen, Boetti discovered the works of the German painter Wols and the cut canvases of the Argentine-Italian artist Lucio Fontana. Boetti’s works of his late teen years, however, are oil paintings inspired by the Russian painter Nicolas de Staël. When he was twenty, he moved to Paris to study engraving. In 1962, he met the art critic and writer Annemarie Sauzeau with who he got married in 1964 and had two children, Matteo (1967) and Agata (1972). During the early 1960s, while he was working in his hometown in Turin, he started working within a close community of artists that included artists such as Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Giulio Paolini, and Michelangelo Pistoletto. During these years, Boetti affirmed himself as one of the leading artists of the Arte Povera movement. From 1974 to 1976, he travelled to Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sudan in order to investigate different cultures. As he was passionate about non-Western cultures, particularly of central and southern Asia, he also went numerous times to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1970s and 1980s. However, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Boetti had to go back to New York. Boetti has been an extremely active artist from the early 1960s until the year of his death in 1994. During his life, Boetti created a wide variety of works of art which were not only poetic and aesthetically pleasant to the eye, but also which shown his interest for different theoretical subjects and for non-Western cultures.

He died of a brain tumour in Rome in 1994 at the age of 53.