Mario Merz is considered one of the key figures of the Arte Povera movement that emerged during the 1960s in Turin, Italy, where he was born. Forced to abandon his medical studies due to the Second World War, he began to draw and paint, fully coming into his own over the course of the 1960s. At the end of that decade, he initiated a methodical approach to art-making based on the contrast between materials and their transformation. Favouring the form of the igloo and the spiral for their highly symbolic content and their harmonious structure based on the Fibonacci sequence—a mathematical principle present in many of nature’s patterns, where each number is obtained from the sum of the two preceding ones—he created seemingly fragile domes of an inventiveness that rejects the pre-established systems of art. Merz’s work reflects a fascination for natural materials and their concrete and metaphorical potential.

Triplo Igloo, 1984, Aluminum, steel, broken glass, clamps, and clay.
© Succession Mario Merz / SOCAN (2022) • Photo: Paolo M. Sartor