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30
Alighiero Boetti
MAPPA
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 848,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
30
Alighiero Boetti
MAPPA
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 848,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

In Context Italian Art

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London

Alighiero Boetti
1940 - 1994
MAPPA
signed and dated Kabul Afghanistan 1983 on the overlap
embroidered tapestry
114 by 176 cm. 44 7/8 by 69 1/4 in.
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This work is registered in the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome, under the number 2712 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Provenance

Gianni Michelagnoli, Milan 

Acquired from the above by the present owner in the late 1980s

Literature

Jean-Christophe Ammann, Alighiero Boetti, Catalogo generale, Vol. III/1, Milan 2015, p. 58, no. 1254, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1983, Mappa forms part of Alighiero Boetti’s most iconic series. Easily distinguishable by their brightly coloured and highly detailed depiction of the world as a flattened planisphere, Boetti’s Mappe bear witness to the ever changing global landscape and provide an extraordinary account of the political geography from 1971 through to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Produced in transcontinental collaboration with female Afghan weavers, silky embroidery thread is used to create a patchwork of national emblems, which gradually change over time to show political shifts and changes across the world. As observed by Carolyn Christov Bakargiev, Boetti's Mappe "act as a metaphor for the fluidity of human relationships and communities" (Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Arte Povera, London 1999, p. 85). Testament to the unique cross-cultural beauty of this work, the border of this Mappa from 1983 is adorned with both Roman and Farsi text. The Farsi text on vertical edges reads: “indifferent, the street of the desert is Alighiero and Boetti’s guest, the street… (on the right) /Alighiero (and) Boetti find each other in the desert (on the left).” 

The concept for the Mappe came about partly through chance when Boetti came across a set of blank schematic world maps commonly found in school atlases and textbooks. He coloured each country on these maps with the design of its national flag to create Planisfero Politico in 1969, a work on paper that would be the prototype for the Mappe. It was a simple concept that employed one of his favourite artistic strategies, which was to take an existing system and give it visual form, calling attention to the ways in which such systems structure the world. Humanity’s desire to control and place structure upon the world through mapping can be dated right back to the Second-Century with Ptolemy’s world map; which documented the world as it was known to Hellenistic society. Ptolemy’s maps were the first to use longitudinal and latitudinal lines as a way of creating a global coordinate system and thus were the first to base proportions of countries on mathematical calculations. This attempt to place a structured system upon the world is often employed by Boetti throughout his artistic practice due to his consummate belief that the world is characterised by the ancient principles of ordine e disordine (order and disorder).

In the Mappe series Boetti explores these ancient principles of ordine e disordine through a radical separation between plan and execution. He partially removed himself from the creative process and asked Afghan weavers to create the works for him. In March 1971 Boetti first travelled to the Afghan capital of Kabul, remaining there for one month. This trip marked the beginning of the production of his Mappe series by the local Afghan women and was a trip he would repeat each year until 1979 when the country was invaded by the Soviet Union. The production of the Mappe resumed in Peshawar in 1982 by Afghan women who had fled to the border regions of Pakistan; here they continued to produce the Mappe until 1994. Each Mappa took up to four embroiderers approximately one year to make, however, some took two years, or even up to as many as ten. Boetti communicated his visions through a chain of people who then passed on his instructions to the Afghan women who embroidered the works. As Tate curator Mark Godfrey has explained: “Boetti’s involvement with Afghanistan can be seen therefore to have had a considerable impact on his thinking about the identity of the art work and the nature of its production. Working with embroiderers meant letting the work be determined by other people, opening up not just to new materials but to their traditions of colour and, as a consequence, challenging sexist and nationalist biases, and the conventions of the art market which did not recognise the category of mass-produced unique art work” (Mark Godfrey, Alighiero e Boetti, London 2009, p. 221).

In line with Boetti’s rejection of singular authorship in favour of plurality and collective creativity, Boetti’s Mappe are a profound testament to the tenor of cross cultural exchange, and are as relevant today as they were two decades ago.

In Context Italian Art

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London