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Massimiliano Gioni praises Boetti’s Maps

Coinciding with Boetti’s Tate show, Massimiliano Gioni explains why the artist's maps represent an art world shift

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Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been bringing you videos from the panel we recently hosted at MoMA in New York, where we discussed Defining Contemporary Art with leading curators. We saw Bob Nickas criticising the re-performances of Marina Abramovic, and Hans Ulrich Obrist pay tribute to David Weiss of Fischi/Weiss. Today we bring you Massimiliano Gioni on Alighiero Boetti. Gioni is currently Associate Director at the New Museum in New York and Artistic Director at the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan; it was also announced earlier this year that Gioni is to be the art director of the 2012 Venice Biennale.

Map

Alighiero Boetti, Mappa (1989)

Basing his talk on Boetti, Gioni chooses to focus on the artists 1989 Map, one of a series of tapestries that the artist commissioned from Afghan women beginning in the 1970s and ending in 1993. For him, it not only captures a very significant tipping point in the history of the world (the Soviet Union was still intact, for instance), but it also represents an important moment in contemporary art – a time when people began to lose the preconception that contemporary art only happened in a select few cosmopolitan cities.

“It’s clearly a world that is very different from the world we inhabit today,” says Gioni. “Even though it sort-of resembles it. Of course you can notice the Soviet Union is still there, you can notice a still divided Germany, so it’s a sort-of moment frozen in time and it’s a world that’s caught on the cusp between the world as we knew it during the Cold War and the world as we knew it in the 90s. What I think is very beautiful about the work of Boetti is the very manufacturing of the work. The production of the work anticipates this transition towards a much more relativistic universe, which would emerge in the 90s.”

Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan closes at the Tate Modern this Sunday.


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