Cieli ad alta quota

The exhibition as a map of the world: Alighiero e Boetti's "Cieli ad alta quota"

Alighiero e Boetti – an exhibition in the sky January – December 1993

The detail (a certain number of aeroplanes in a specific area) always implies the potential for expansion; continuing beyond the frame at both high and low altitudes.

Destinations connect and interweave to form networks of lines in which meaning is created in the variety of possibilities for the migration of forms. Form results from the accumulated, overall arrangement of different aeroplanes and arises from a given, found set of source materials as in "Classification of the Thousand Longest Rivers on Earth". The pictures are then created through multi-layered, planned and unplanned (causal and acausal) processes.

The starting point for this exhibition on board Austrian Airlines is the attempt to relate the exhibition of the work to its structure and to take account of the potential for proliferation which Boetti's works always contain. This plays down questions of display and conservation in favour of the conceptual dimension of perception and activity in space and time.

It is a question of circular context: While waiting for the arrival (Paul Virilio) the opportunity for experience is brought onto the schedule through the atmospherics in the in-flight magazine and the chance for playful participation. The intersection of the horizontal network of points and the reconstructed vertical axis of existence is the meeting point for the production and reception of the works. A simultaneous space opens up in which opposites meet. The eye roves across endless skies without imposing a predetermined hierarchy on the picture – a feeling of eternity which is substantiated both by the sideways figure 8 and the height above the earth. The viewer is in the midst of an oscillation between the particular and the universal, as described by Ernesto Laclau.

"The conclusion seems to be that the universal is incommensurable with any particular but cannot exist separated from particulars." (Ernesto Laclau in "Universalism, Particularism and the Question of Identity")

(November 1992)