INS 010 Igloos Mario Merz 1925–2003
In 1967, critic Germano Celan coined arte povera, an umbrella term for a cluster of avant-garde, anti-consumerist creatives originating from Turin, Rome and Milan. One of these artists was Mario Merz who sought to oppose what he viewed as the dehumanising forces of industrialism and the "ready-made". In the late 1960s, this concept was embodied in what would become his signature motif, the igloo.
For Merz, the convex form of the igloo resonated with both the shape of the earth and that of his own cranium, enabling him to link contemporary society with the prehistoric past and to explore ideas about how we inhabit our world. Underlying the works, even the later ones, is the heady political optimism of 1968: a belief that a better society was possible. "The igloo is a womb (…). Things can be born from the igloo."
Merz’s work explores the notion of nature as a powerful, generous, and ever-expanding force that grows in the rational succession conceived by Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci. Born in Pisa, he studied the patterns of growth in nature and solved a rabbit population growth problem with what has become known in the Western world as the Fibonacci sequence — 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233 — in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. The artist’s work centers on his belief that nature is an overriding presence and that its laws, at once brutal and sublime, regulate human activity all the way from issues of survival (as in the igloo) to social interaction and political action.
© Fondazione Merz Turin,
Museum of Cycladic Art Athens
Suoni in circolo, foglie in circolo, suoni in circolo, alberi in circolo..., 1993
© Nic Tenwiggenhorn, VG Bild-Kunst
Albero grande solitario
Foresta con video