Marisa Merz was the only female artist associated with the Arte Povera group. She often used materials associated with transformation and energy in her practice, such as wax, clay, and copper. Creating her work in the domestic space of the home that she shared with Mario Merz, the artist developed a unique visual vocabulary supported by the seemingly infinite practice of repetition and re-elaboration of her private life. In this untitled work, a figure appears to float in space. It holds a violin, an object that often appeared in the artist’s oeuvre. On the right side of the composition hangs a copper wire that is affixed to the surface with a humble piece of scotch tape. Perhaps with a sense of irony, the artist painted the tape gold. Merz creates a fleeting dream-like universe that straddles traditional divisions between abstraction and representation. The remnant of a wood beam at the base of the work reminds us of nature and our connection to it, grounding the otherwise ephemeral work. The work recalls Byzantine and Renaissance sacred painting in its scale, imagery and the use of gold. In Merz’s work, the creative act is positioned as a perpetually changing process, in which icons, existence, and dreams coalesce.


  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Marisa Merz
  • Creator Lifespan: (1926 – 2019)
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Date Created: 2004
  • Physical Dimensions: h 165.1, w 160, d 16.5 cm
  • Rights: Courtesy Magazzino Italian Art Foundation
  • Medium: Mixed media on paper, plywood panel, copper wire, and driftwood

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