Arte Povera artist Mario Merz uses his ‘poor art’ motifs to challenge our definition of an art object in this exhibition at Pace Gallery London
Mario Merz is primarily associated with the Arte Povera movement that swept Italy in the late 1960s. Artists like Merz such as Michelangelo Pistoletto and Jannis Kounnelis used materials that had not previously been considered worthy of inclusion in art to disrupt the commercial orientation of gallery art and expand the possibilities of what could constitute an art object. Hence Arte Povera’s translation as ‘Poor Art’
This exhibition provides an excellent opportunity to see some of Merz’s signature works. The ten major sculptures and installations that are included in the show, alongside seven works on paper, give us key examples of Merz’s practice. The igloo, the Fibonacci sequence and the table are the three motifs that structure Merz’s work, and are often used to articulate his ideas around the daily rhythms of social behaviour, nature and the role of the artist.