Boetti was a curious trickster-like figure in the arts of his milieu. He was a member of Italy’s Arte Povera
(“poor art”) movement, which used didacticism and everyday materials for the production of art—often art that broke away from conventional media such as painting and sculpture. Although he left the movement in the early 1970s, he continued to use many of the same ideas in his subsequent work.
Boetti’s tapestries are simple and direct, using embroidery to depict text in bright colors. The text used often displays a short phrase in Italian, such as the eponymous Il progressivo svanire della consuetudine (1988), which translates roughly to “the gradual fading of the customary.” The clear, poetic phrase captures both Boetti’s aim (the disintegration of the restrictive customs of art production) and the evanescence of what art gives to its audience in novel feelings and experiences. Other works act in similar ways, such as Untitled (1988), which contains a grid of many different short phrases, loosely related but not necessarily meant to be read linearly.