Order and Disorder: Alighiero Boetti by Afghan Women
February 26–July 29, 2012
From 1971 to 1994, Italian artist Alighiero Boetti (1940–1994) embarked on a series of projects with Afghan embroiderers, creating monumental pieces that would become some of the artist’s most iconic works. Working first in Kabul in the 1970s and then in refugee camps in Pakistan after the 1979 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Afghan women embroidered works based on Boetti’s templates that include: colorful grids of letters that spell out phrases (such as “Order and Disorder”); Mappe (maps), wall-sized world maps with countries filled-in with the colors and symbols of their flags; and Tutto (everything), large-scale works entirely filled with intricately embroidered shapes representing diverse objects—sunglasses, a Hindu goddess, a protractor, twins, and more. The exhibition features twenty-nine works by Boetti along with documentary photographs of the Afghan embroiderers taken in 1990 at Boetti’s request by Randi Malkin Steinberger, as well as examples of the traditional styles of embroidery that might have played a role in stimulating Boetti's best-known works.
Banner image: © Alighiero Boetti Estate by Artists Rights Society (ARS) and Società Italiana di Autori ed Editori (SIAE) 2011. Courtesy Fondazione Alighiero e Boetti, Rome.