Mario Merz - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gian Enzo Sperone, Turin; Galerie Konrad Fischer, Dusseldorf

  • Exhibited

    New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Mario Merz, 28 September – 26 November, 1989

  • Literature

    G. Celant, Mario Merz, New York, 1989, p. 119, no. 69 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    My use of the Fibonacci series began with the idea that it was impossible to stop inside any of the non pre-fixed garden spaces. I put myself inside a contradiction between opposites – between empty and full, between life and death, which is… the contradiction of man per se as a fact of life. These numbers do not so much cultivate the contradiction, as they absorb the ‘idea’ of the contradiction; insofar as the numbers 5 in 5 are repeated, they are vegetative and biologically natural. These numbers often correspond to the proliferations of natural elements: for instance, we have 5 fingers, 2 eyes,1 nose and can easily recognize this number, which transcends itself in a divaricating sense. I did this series because it is biologically conceivable, because it has a direction and, above all, roots, but it has roots, because it has a biological meaning, even if the meaning is not directly scientific.
    Science tells us that, in nature, the elements all pass into one another; the meaning of nature is transformation. This led to the idea of creating a sculpture that was not fixed, that was not geometric – a construction that would be a transformation rather than a construction. Since neon light actually has electric power as one of its own object qualities, it turns into light when it fully and perceptibly transfixes the glass object, that is, the tube. Piercing the car, the bottle, the glass, the water, or the plant with the neon tube meant physically carrying the action of transformation from one element to another.
    (Mario Merz in conversation with Germano Celant, Mario Merz, NewYork, 1989, p. 105 and 109)


Quando le piante invaderanno il mondo


Spray enamel, charcoal and neon on unstretched canvas, plant and transformer.

235 x 120 x 35 cm. (92 1/2 x 47 1/4 x 13 3/4 in).

£150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for £168,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

29 Feb 2008, 2pm