I quattro moli

  • 1982
  • Alighiero e Boetti
  • pencil, ball-point pen ink on paper on canvas
  • (4x) 75,2 x 71,6 x 2,7 cm
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1984
  • Inventory number 1145

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This work by the Italian artist Alighiero e Boetti consists of four parts, which show the same image in each case but in a different colour. Each part comprises a sheet of paper glued onto canvas with small vertical dashes drawn in horizontal lines,. The artist used the colours blue black, red and green, and part of the paper was left white. The white part is in the form of a rectangular sheet of paper which is torn off at the bottom edge and has a small fold in the top right-hand corner. A rectangular gateway is drawn in the middle of this form with dashes. The work is entitled 'I quattro moli', the four piers and sometimes the words “Pier Piet” are added to this.

From the late 1960s Alighiero e Boetti presented very stylistically diverse work and was classified as a member of the Arte Povera, a movement which often worked with materials not commonly used in art, varying from objects taken from nature, such as branches, to everyday manufactured products, such as neon tubes or pieces of graph paper. Boetti used the latter to make the work 'Cimento dell'armonia e dell'invenzione' in 1969, in which he traced the horizontal and vertical lines on the paper. Boetti said: “Therefore I had to measure myself with a very small thing which, despite everything, guaranteed me an exceptional individual freedom to act and an enormous opportunity for research and analysis.” In fact Boetti determined for himself which lines and how many of them he would trace. The use of rules or systems and the individual way in which they were adopted formed the basis of his work.

For the work 'Ordine e disordine' Boetti instructed Afghan women to embroider the sixteen letters of the title, leaving them free to choose their own colours and consequently there was an enormous variety of work carried out, despite a rigidly defined starting point. Boetti often has his ideas carried out by others. The fact that he considered it unimportant to include the artists’ signature is also shown in his choice to sign Alighiero e Boetti as though they are two people. The parts of I quattro moli were also made by different people. With the suffix (Pier Piet), Boetti probably referred to Piet Mondrian's series of works called 'Pier and Ocean'. These works consists of horizontal and vertical stripes which cross over each other, the only directions permitted according to Mondrian’s rules. In his attempt to achieve universal art, Mondrian used his strict rules intuitively, just like the people who executed Boetti’s work. .

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