Mario Merz: drawings

Mario Merz: drawings 28.04.2007 | 29.07.2007

“Drawing is a chink for going beyond the kitsch of signs, theories, ideas… drawing is something sentimental.”    (Mario Merz)

From 28 April to 29 July 2007 the Fondazione Merz presents the great retrospective Mario Merz: Drawings, produced in collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Winterthur (Switzerland) and curated by Dieter Schwarz and Beatrice Merz.

On display until 9 April 2007 in the rooms of the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, the exhibition will be completely rehung in the spaces of the Fondazione Merz where it will include 200 drawings by the artist done over a span of fifty years, from 1951 to 2003.

Drawing is the starting point for Mario Merz’s work. As he himself relates: “I’m the boy that used to go out into the fields hoping to bring home a drawing without having to imitate nineteenth-century landscape. The boy who drew the feelings that nature inspired.”

Refusing everything final and interpreting his own work as a sketch, Merz sees drawing as being the most suitable means, as well as the most intimate.

“He was always reluctant to show his drawings because they were virtually his life companions,” explains Dieter Schwarz, director of the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, “and they were the nucleus of the work that he wished in some way to conserve. Drawing is the thought process that accompanies the artist through his work.” Indeed, all the themes that have appeared regularly in his research can be found in his drawings: the igloo, the Fibonacci sequence, the cone and the development of the spiral, alongside primordial animals such as reptiles and snails.

Large and small, the drawings change style according to theme and phase. The exhibition follows the development of Merz’s output, from the early drawings of 1951, in pastel-charcoal, to the most recent works of 2003, in which the artist preferred to use black and white, seemingly taking up the language he had begun with.

While his paintings and installations are present in the most important collections of contemporary art in the world, it has always been difficult to see his drawings. For the first time after his death, this exhibition documents one of the fundamental aspects of his work.

The variety and nature of these works make Mario Merz one of the greatest of post-war draughtsmen.

For the occasion the publisher hopefulmonster editore will bring out a catalogue providing a complete picture of the artist’s graphic work, with texts by Dieter Schwarz, Claire Gilman and Lara Conte.