Lot 10
  • 10

Mario Merz

Estimate Upon Request
bidding is closed


  • Mario Merz
  • Igloo Ticino 
  • stone and metal


Galerie Tschudi, Zuoz (acquired from the artist)
Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Rome, Scuderie Papali al Quirinale & Mercati Trainei, Novecento Arte e Storia in Italia, 2000-01
Genoa, Palazzo Ducale Fondazione per la Cultura, Arti & Architettura, 1900/2000, Scultura, pittura, fotografia, design, cinema e architettura: un secolo di progetti creativi, 2004-05, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Mario Merz, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, 2010


Mario Merz Obras Històricas. Instalaciones (exhibition catalogue), Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, 2002, illustrated in colour p. 24

Catalogue Note

The igloo has come to define the unique sculptural practice of Mario Merz. Igloo Ticino exemplifies the artist’s conceptual ideas, much of which was based around mathematical theory, which first emerged in the 1960s when Merz was at the forefront of the Arte Povera movement. In particular Merz was fascinated by Fibonacci’s sequence, in which the very pattern for organic existence and growth is described. This infinite series of numbers springs from the first two numbers which are 0 and 1, after which each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. From these numeric origins graphic spirals can be drawn and used to map architectural and organic structures. The igloo's essential form is that of a spiral, and discussing the origin of these seminal works Merz stated: ‘The igloo developed from a sort of knowledge. It appeared in my work when I said to myself that one could make art with more freedom […]. The igloo is the ideal organic form. It is at the same time the world and the little house. What interested me in the igloo, was the fact that it existed in the head already before it was accomplished; but an organic idea is not yet the organic thing itself, one still has to put it into effect. Then comes the problem of organising a simple construction. Architecture is a sometimes mathematical, sometimes decorative construction, but it is always an edifice for accommodation, for giving man a social dimension. […] When I made the igloo, I acted with the power of imagination. The igloo is a synthesis, a complex picture, because I torture the elementary image of the igloo that I carry inside me. I think the igloo has two sides, a concrete one and a rather mental one’ (quoted in Mario Merz (exhibition catalogue), Galleria Civica d’Arte Contemporanea, Trento, 1995, n. p.).