Mario Merz

If the Form Vanishes Its Root Is Eternal


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 spelled-out words (title/idea/meaning) into an art object gives this work its peculiar economy, resonance, and, so to speak, legibility.

On view

Artist Mario Merz
Original Title Se la forma scompare la sua radice è eterna
Date 1982–89
Medium Neon tubes
Dimensions 46.6 x 1200 x 4 cm
Credit line Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. Gift of the artist
Accession 89.3632.a–.b
Collection Acquisitions
Type Sculpture

Copy caption

On view

Other artworks