The Tate Modern is hosting until the 27th of May, at the fourth floor riverside, the exhibition Game Plan by the influential Italian artist Alighiero E Boetti (1940-1994). The artist has been a key member of the so called Arte Povera, an important subversive movement who aimed to create artworks in new ways by using basic, essential and raw materials.
Boetti is popular for utilising industrial materials, in connection with Turin’s booming economy and with the geopolitical situation he was living. In the 70’s he set up the One Hotel, which was known to be a pleasant bungalow with a free will garden hosting hippies, Indian and Pakistani carpet traders. The artist viewed and represented the hotel as an artwork itself and he decided to mirror it by creating large embroideries depicting world maps, the most famous of the series are called Mappa.
In the terrace overlooking the Millenium Bridge and St Paul’s cathedral you will find a thin bronze man, holding in his right hand a hose up, so that water can gently land on his head and on his open-necked work suit. The head of the man is heated from the inside, to a temperature that make the drips and drizzle turn immediately to puffs of steam. This is the last work of Boetti, finished in 1993 just before he died of cancer, and it’s a self portrait named My Brain is Smoking.
The artwork shows to the viewer in a simple and direct way how thoughts are a priority over anything else. Boetti was a conceptual artist and, as the sculpture suggests, his head was relentlessly burning with new ideas, his mind was surrounded by airplanes, loaded up with creativity, flying in his own sky.
Edited by Matilde Casaglia
Artist: Alighiero E Boetti