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Helicopters, Tanks, Portraits, Flags, and Map Rugs from Afghanistan “Boetti Style”


Esso Gallery
531 West 26th Street, 212-560-9728
January 22 - February 26, 2005
Reception: Saturday, January 22, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

In collaboration with Kevin Sudeith and Project Empowerment

From the press release:

For a series of coincidences, which already had the mark of Boetti’s hand, we came across an unusual series of rugs made in Afghanistan from the collection of Kevin Sudeith. We had already seen war rugs, especially those made during the Soviet occupation but what immediately caught our attention was a group of textiles made during the American invasion depicting maps of the world on backgrounds of brilliant colors, framed by a decoration of flags and English writing. Having already confessed our long time love for the works by Italian artist Alighiero Boetti, to whom we dedicated two shows in 1997 and in 1999, the connection was too obvious. Boetti had his embroideries and rugs made in Afghanistan in the early 70s and then in Pakistan, where his weavers escaped to. The provenance of these previously unknown rugs, and more importantly the imagery woven in was incredibly close to Boetti’s. We knew, of course, because Boetti himself had already mentioned it in 1992, of the existence of rugs sold as “Boetti style”, and that with such a name attached to them it was a way of selling rugs in the western hemisphere; we would never have thought that Alighiero’s lesson could have been taken so literally. We couldn’t imagine the scale that the influence of a single western artist could have on an entire eastern culture. To us, the discovery of these textiles is the demonstration that art has longer perspectives in time and history then any other way of communication and that the peaceful practices and ideas of Alighiero Boetti are still traveling and floating alive in the air and on the ground handed on in the form of a rug.
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