Mario Merz

/Works and biography


If the Form Vanishes Its Root Is Eternal
(Se la forma scompare la sua radice è eterna), 1982–89
Neon tubes, 46.6 x 1200 x 4 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice
Gift of the artist 89.3632.a–.b
© Mario Merz, by SIAE 2008


This blue neon aphorism, mimicking the artist’s own calligraphy, was first used by Mario Merz in 1982. This later version was made by the artist for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in August 1989 prior to a press conference in Venice for the retrospective exhibition of his work the same year at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Merz began using neon in 1966. For him it represented the light of human intelligence, the power of thought, and the inspirational force of ideas. The merging of the signifying medium (neon/thought) and of the spelt out words (title/idea/meaning) into an art object gives this work its peculiar economy , resonance, and, so to speak legibility.

credits: Hangar Design Group