Mario Merz

Lingotto (1968)

About this artwork

Lingotto was made in the year that Merz began exhibiting with other artists associated with the Arte Povera movement. The bundles of brushwood create an imposing sculpture and are characteristic of the group’s employment of humble materials. Over the brushwood a block of beeswax rests on a steel framework, evoking a single gold bar – ‘lingotto’ means ‘ingot’ in Italian. Lingotto is also the district in the artist’s home city of Turin, famous for the Fiat factory, a modernist yellow building, where his father worked. Together these disparate references suggest the contrasts between poor and luxury and rural and modern, urban existence.

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  • title: Lingotto
  • accession number: AR00608
  • artist: Mario MerzItalian (1925 - 2003)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Installation
  • date created: 1968
  • measurements: 262.00 x 313.00 x 114.00 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Collezione Privata, Torino
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Mario Merz

Mario Merz

Merz belonged to the generation of artists that emerged in the wake of World War II, who exposed traditional painting and sculpture to a new range of mediums and forms. Born in Milan, he was a major figure in the ‘Arte Povera’ movement and his work is characterised by a close connection with nature. Using familiar and humble materials, Merz often juxtaposed the organic and inorganic, exploring experiences of life and humanity. Ideas regarding infinity and repetition are also central to his work and he is perhaps most famous for his igloo constructions and his fascination with the Fibonacci sequence (the mathematical formula for growth patterns found in many forms of life).