Artwork of the month January

Alighiero Boetti, Normale e anormale, 1987

Alighiero Boetti

* 1940 in Turin, Italien, † 1994 in Rom, Italien

Normale e anormale, 1987

Cotton embroidery on fabric on stretcher

18.5 × 18.3cm

"I remember reading the words of a Chinese philosopher as a child: 'The universe is a square with no corners.' Perhaps he was trying to say that one can see the universe either as expanding or as contracting, because a square with no corners really consists of four unconnected lines. These few words can set our thoughts in motion [...]. In my opinion, a good picture should be possessed of an analogous function." 

A small, square, colourful, embroidered picture consisting of 4 × 4 squares each containing a coloured capital letter on a different coloured ground. Read from left to right or from right to left, this creates sequences of incomprehensible or foreign sounding words. But read, uncustomarily, from top to bottom, a pair of words appears: Normale e anormale (Normal and abnormal). This embroidered piece is part of the Arazzi piccoli series (small embroidered text pictures) that began with the Ordine e disordine series in 1970, becoming an integral part of Boetti's work since 1972.

In these text pictures, Alighiero Boetti deals with the all-embracing order of the cosmic and earthly world. Normale e anormale speaks of polarities, interconnected dualisms that ultimately formulate a dualistic unity. Western and Eastern thought–couched in a square – are transposed into a new form, inviting us to set our thought in motion and, at the same time, to open our minds to the richness of the senses and beauty.

"I made one hundred copies of each of these pieces. But each is different, due to the colours and the differences of the embroiderers. They are neither originals nor multiples: they belong in a new category, on a market that is completely different to that of my other works. Someone once said to me that I created the first picture of a vernacular concept art...". 

Christiane Meyer-Stoll

<b>Alighiero Boetti, Normale e anormale, 1987</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.