Mario Merz. Che cos’è una casa?
December 1, 2010 – March 6, 2011
The Fondazione Merz presents the works that Mario Merz created for the 1999 exhibition Che cos’è una casa?, which was originally held at the Porto’s Fundação de Serralves under the curatorship of Vicente Todolí.
Merz was invited to exhibit his work in the elegant rooms of the Serralves Villa and he specifically conceived a display where all the pieces selected were combined to merge into a single work stretching throughout the entire exhibition space. Thus igloos, tables and different structures run throughout the rooms supporting the black silhouettes of animals that inhabit the house, while the landscape changes as a new nature manifests itself. All along, the exhibition space is dotted by the numbers from the Fibonacci series in neon lights representing the symbol of creative energy.
In Che cos’è una casa? the artist’s vision reaches its peak in a dynamic dialogue between spatial symmetries and asymmetries. As Vicente Todolí wrote in his preface to the catalogue of the 1999 exhibition: Merz sets up a dialogue where the Apollonian nature of architecture is subverted by the Dionysian progression of movement, where the latter is intended as energy and expansion of the subject. The exhibit also includes the presentation of the drawings that were originally made and selected by Mario Merz to illustrate the publication of the texts he had written to accompany the Portuguese exhibition.
In April 2005, the inauguration of the Fondazione Merz featured a show that presented an overall view of the various forms of expressions which Mario Merz was capable of bringing into his work; it was followed by the critical exhibitions of his drawings (“Drawings”, 2007, curator Dieter Schwarz) and paintings (“Pageantry of painting”, 2010, curator Rudi Fuchs). The current exhibition delves into the Italian artist’s ability to vary his work and shape a show that constantly relates to the architecture of the place hosting it. As Mariano Boggia — president of the Fondazione — recalls, Mario Merz used to study the exhibition venues to understand the spatial relationships within the architecture of a particular site, so that he could anticipate the extent of his artistic act and then select the works to be exhibited accordingly. At once he could retrieve all of his personal artistic past and bring it back into play, reinventing it under new forms. The show at the Serralves became an exemplary demonstration of his particular “work method”.