Mario Merz grows in Turin, it attends two years the medical college of the Université of Turin. During the Second world war, it enters the group antifascist Justice and Liberté and in 1945 it is arrested and imprisoned, to have distributed leaflets. In prison, it draws on all and nothing, of the morning at the evening, without raising the hand of the selected support. And as of its release it will find the hills inhabitants of Turin where the grass, the sun, the perfumes and the noises will be recorded as by a seismograph with the point of the pencil which traces convolutions. it is a kind of writing of sensitive in a cycle without end. He seeks a language which will give form to the world. After the Release, encouraged by the critic Luciano Pistoi, it is devoted full-time to the Peinture, while starting with the oil-base paint. It starts initially with a painting of style expressionniste-abstract, for then passing to an abstract treatment of painting (to subvert the codes of creation rather than to try the going beyond of it). In 1954, with the Gallery Bussola with Turin, takes place its first exposure personal. In the middle of the Sixties, it gives up painting to try out materials like the neon tubes, with which it perforates the surface of the fabrics to symbolize an infusion of energy, and to try out the first three-dimensional assemblies, “volumetric paintings”.
It is present as of the first exposures of Arte Povera with the artists who took part in the collective exposure organized by Germano Concealing to the Gallery Bertesca of Genoa (1967) and Merz, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Giuseppe Penone, Luciano Fabro, Alighero Boetti and others meet in the Gallery inhabitant of Turin of Gian Enzo Sperone. It quickly becomes an element of reference of the group.
The climate of 68 and the idea of a political and social renewal are found in its works: Merz reproduces with neons the slogans of protest of the student movement.
Starting from 1968 it starts to carry out archetypic structures like the igloo , realized with the most disparate materials (glass, ground, lead…), which will become characteristic of its production and that represent the final going beyond, on behalf of the artist, the framework and the plan to two-dimensional. In 1970, it introduces into its works the Suite of Fibonacci like symbol of the inherent energy of the matter and the organic growth, while placing the figures carried out with neon either on its works or in places of exposure, like, in 1971 along the spiral of the Musée Solomon R. Guggenheim, in 1984 on the Mole Antonelliana of Turin and in 1990 on the Manica Lunga of the Castello di Rivoli.
In 1976, it introduces the figure symbolic system of the Spirale which was successively associated with that of the table , on the surface of which it had of the fruits or vegetables so that, left with their natural destiny, they introduce into work the dimension of real-time.
At the end of the Seventies, Merz turns over to the representational art, by drawing great images of antiquated animals, which it defines as prehistoric, on not framed large-sized fabrics.
FameDuring years of very many exposures were devoted to Merz in the most important museums of the world. Among those, one can quote the Walker Art Center of Mineapolis in 1972, the Kunsthalle of Basle in 1981, the Moderna Museet of Stockholm in 1983, the Museum off Contemporary Art of Los Angeles and the Musée Solomon R. Guggenheim of New York in 1989, Fundation Antoni Tàpies of Barcelona in 1993, the Castello di Rivoli and the Centro per Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci of Prato in 1990, the Galleria Civica ofArte Contemporanea of Thirty in 1995, Fundation de Serralves of Oporto (Portugal) in 1999, the Square of Art of Nimes in 2000, Fundation Proa of Buenos Aires in 2002. In 2003, it to him was allotted Praemium Impérial of the Emperor of the Japan.
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