Boetti/Salvo “Vivere lavorando giocando”

Dep Art Gallery
Oct 8, 2019 12:01PM

LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura (Switzerland) presents Boetti/Salvo “Vivere lavorando giocando” from 9 April to 27 August 2017, curated by Bettina Della Casa: about 150 works showcased, including international loans from the Archivio Alighiero Boetti in Rome, the Archivio Salvo in Turin, as well as from museums and galleries and private collections.

The aim of the exhibition is to analyse the intellectual relationship and friendship that took place between Alighiero Boetti and Salvo in the late 1960s in Turin.

Alighiero Boetti (1940–1994) and Salvo (1947–2015) are two of the most original figures in the Italian artistic scene in the second half of the twentieth century, began their activity in the late 1960s in Turin, a city that was characterized by a strong cultural vitality at the time.

Turin was also the city where they shared a studio at Corso Principe Oddone 88 from 1969 to 1971 and the subtitle of the exhibition, “Vivere lavorando giocando” (“Living Working Playing”), is how Salvo described his relationship with Alighiero: be careful though, this friendship didn’t mean affinity of artistic attitudes, but we can say that the conceptual artist Boetti and the talented painter Salvo had found a common ground, a “magic circle” in which they can experiment, confront, create.

Alighiero Boetti e Salvo, Vernazza 1969. Photo by Anne Marie Sauzeau

Alighiero was for Salvo also a sort of pass, an entryway to the Arte Povera group, which in those years was dominating the Turinese scene (after the Germano Celant’s article “Arte Povera.Appunti per una guerriglia”, published in November 1967), as the sculpture Gilberto Zorio recalled few year later: “As for Salvo, who arrived in 1968, I must say that his case is rather similar to Penone’s. He entered this situation with nonchalance. They did not break down any doors, but rather entered to find a natural setting for themselves, and the same can be said for Griffa. Salvo was a very good friend of Boetti; before that he had done many jobs, as bricklayer, he’d done political work, and so on”.

At the end of the Sixties and at the beginning of the Seventies, both the artists were working on their individuality: while Salvo Mangione was eliding his surname, establishing his identity as an ironic self-celebration (“Io sono il migliore”, 1970), Boetti extends it and splits himself is Alighiero&Boetti (even a visual way, see “Gemelli”, 1968).

Alighiero Boetti, Gemelli, 1968, stampa fotografica; edizione in 50 esemplari firmati cm 15 X 10. Foto Archivio Alighiero Boetti

This work on the self and their playful attitude are, undoubtedly, an analogy between the two artists, but, as we have already said before, their collaboration in the shared studio grew even in the differences: while Salvo was working on the pictorial surface, Boetti preferred the two-dimensionality, while Salvo chose the figuration, Boetti chose to delegate to others.

The aim of the exhibition in Lugano is to provide a visual form to this intense existential adventure in which “playing” with art was a rigorous, victorious, and indispensable activity: Boetti/Salvo shared an idea of the game as a sociological basis of life, its paradigm, a symbolic representation of human existence and a mean to interpret it.

Salvo, Alba, 1989, 200×250 cm + Rovine, 1983, 95x55 cm

Six sections show the personal characteristics of each artist, allowing viewers to pull the strings between the two poetics thanks to a curatorship that lets the artworks dialogue with each other: Image of the Self; Creating Phrases (the writing process is translated in carving for Salvo and embroidering for Boetti); Tautologies; Thinking about Time and Thinking about the History (of Art); Maps (maybe the most famous subject in both the artistic productions: the ones of Alighiero, portraying the world and made by the Afghan embroiderers; and the others painted by Salvo, where on the shape of Sicily or of the Italian peninsula he presents an excursus of the names of famous men such as philosophers, artists and so on).

LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura installation view, Foto Studio Pagi

Last, but not least, the section dedicated to The Infinite Variety of Everything, focused on developments subsequent to the two artists’ respective research, which by that time they were carried out in a completely independent way; we are in the 1972 and Boetti is moving to Rome for good and as Alighiero himself told in September 1972 to the Turin publication NAC: “It’s going to be hard! There won’t be any new artists for years! The last artist to appear in Turin, Salvo, had an extremely close friendship with me”.

With also some hitherto unseen photographs, the exhibition in Lugano is an attestation of this artistic journey and long-term relationship, testified by Salvo during a small talk with the mutual friend Laura Cherubini:“Alighiero and I became friends right away, pals really…We’d discuss whether they made the best coffee at the Mokita, the Torino, or the San Carlo, we thought it was better in Naples or in Palermo, then we decided it was even better in Istanbul ad so we headed out” .

45 siciliani 100 x 119 cm olio su tavola

Dep Art Gallery