Aerei | Alighiero Boetti

Aerei 1989 | Painting 118,7 x 59 inch

Discover the biography and all work of the artist

A large triptych, this work by Alighiero Boetti is part of a series begun in 1977, in collaboration with the Italian designer Guido Fuga.

Against a blue background representing the sky, aeroplanes drawn graphically and precisely fly in all directions, as if in combat. Boetti, a fan of lists, as he demonstrated with his list of the world's longest rivers, here depicts every type of aeroplane in existence. Traced using a Bic biro on photographic paper glued onto canvas, they leave a trail of blue ink behind them, in round and elongated shapes, accentuating the impression of propulsion through the air. We do not know if we are looking at an aerial display or through a window where the aircraft are coming towards us in a sort of menacing ballet.

According to the artist's daughter, the inspiration for this work came one afternoon, when the two of them were lying on the grass and watching the trails left by planes in the sky. Agata Boetti was enthused by the beauty of these nascent shapes against the blue of the sky. Her father apparently asked her to imagine that there were more planes in the sky, and therefore more trails. In effect, Alighiero Boetti is always looking to revolutionise the language of art, redistributing the givens of reality in an arbitrary system, as he does here with skill.

Certain themes are a leitmotif in Boetti's work, such as the contrast between order and disorder, the desire and the inability to sort and classify reality, or even the concept of time and its effects. This Italian artist has often entrusted the practical side of producing his work to other people, for example, to students or Afghan embroiderers.