Mario Merz (1925, Milan - 2003, Turin)

Mario Merz experimented with a continuous graphic stroke–not removing his pencil point from the paper. He explored the relationship between nature and the subject, until he had his first exhibitions in the intellectually incendiary context of Turin in the 1950s. Merz discarded abstract expressionism’s subjectivity in favor of opening art to exterior space. At the turn of the decade, these paintings echoed his desire to explore the transmission of energy from the organic to the inorganic, a curiosity that lead him to create works in which neon lights pierced everyday object, such as an umbrella, a glass, a bottle or his own raincoat.
In the 1960s, Merz’s work with energy, light and matter placed him in the movement that Germano Celant named Arte Povera. In 1968 Merz began work on his famous igloos, revealing the prehistoric and tribal features hidden within the present time and space. The neon words on his igloos are hallmark Italian phraseology: like "rock ‘n’ roll," they have the power of being the more than catch phrases or slogans, but the voice of his time in history.
Merz said: "Space is curved, the earth is curved, everything on earth is curved" and subsequently produced large curvilinear installations like the one at the Guggenheim in New York. These last works are formally transcendent and unusually light. His site-specific works in archaeological sites redeem spaces from touristy tedium with a single neon line, which serves as source of aesthetic inspiration. He had the wild, immediate perceptiveness of a child. His works encapsulate this nature together with an uncanny universality and versatility.
He died at Turin in 2003.


artista: Mario Merz


Available Works