On 14 February, the group exhibition “Linee della ricerca artistica in italia 1960–1980” was held at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome. AB was represented by a Mimetico and a work on paper from ’75, Untitled, which bore a long inscription written with his left hand.
On 21 February, he had his first exhibition in France: an anthological solo in the gallery of Chantal Crousel in Paris, “Alighiero and Boetti 1965–1981.” AB personally wrote a text in French Notes pour une exposition, an annotated list of the works exhibited: L’albero delle ore (“Un double triangle, du jour et de la nuit. L’arbre des heures”), a Mimetico (“Mimétisme-perte d’identité; mimétique – paysage pass-partout”), and the ballpoint work Seguire il filo del discorso (“Cinq feuilles, cinq mots, cinq personnes qui ont rempli une feuille au stylo à bille, chacun la sienne, chacun à sa manière, laissant en blanc lettres et virgules. En allant de gauche à droite et suivant les coordonnées [double lecture, horizontale et verticale] vous lirez ‘seguire il filo del discorso.’. Une façon de transformer les mots en figures”).
He also exhibited Storia naturale della moltiplicazione (1975) in eleven sheets, the relief in cast iron 1970, and finally a Mappa. The times did not seem ready for success in France; the Centre Georges Pompidou considered purchasing Mappa but decided against it.
In spring AB rested in the countryside, then he left his family to visit the north, particularly Turin and Milan, where he found support among his dealer friends, including Franz Palludetto and Massimo Minini. Some projects were postponed, included the exhibition planned for 20 November in Zurich at the Annemarie Verna Galerie, which was very helpful in postponing the exhibition.
On 22 May, he had an exhibition at the Galleria Franz Paludetto in Turin which consisted only of embroideries, in particular Ammazzare il tempo, made up of forty-nine elements, from which the exhibition took its title.
Despite poor health, on 25 June he returned to Paris for a particularly significant group exhibition, organized by the Centre Pompidou and curated by Germano Celant: “Identité italienne, l’art en Italie depuis 1959.” AB was photographed at the opening by Nanda Lanfranco and he exhibited two important large works: Ordine e disordine, the noted composition of a hundred embroideries, and a Lavoro postale of 1972, consisting of 492 envelopes based on a combinatorial pattern of Italian stamps.
On 10 December, the solo exhibition “Alighiero and Boetti,” its contents largely agreed between Boetti and Massimo Minini, was held at the Galleria Franz Paludetto/LP in Turin. It consisted of works on paper, all based on the Tra sé e sé structure. The pieces never shown before include a colored collage based on a postcard whose image is taken from the embroidery Pack, created in 1979 and a prelude to the more extensive sequence titled Tutto.
In the last days of the year AB created a new work on paper with a complex functioning. Titled Clessidra cerniera e viceversa it was “a framed hand-written text. In the middle it was torn starting from the center and following the diagonals, so as to create four edges. These torn edges were then folded back and the text torn open to the four winds became an ob- ject in relief…”.
“I realized immediately it could be my last work… And to tell the truth it could even finish like that, because really I don’t believe I could do anything more concentrated, denser, more diversified, more complete, because there’s calligraphy, text, poetry, this visual fact of the opening out, the tearing,
the being ripped into many pieces and finding unity in the negative, in the void.”
AB was to produce a number of versions of this new type of work.