How did it come that you decided to dedicate an exhibition to Mario Merz?
Mario Merz hasn’t had a UK private gallery exhibition in over 20 years. It was time to bring him back to London. We’re working closely with the Merz Foundation to stage this exhibition and it’s an honor to work with the foundation. We met Beatrice Merz and there was an opportunity and a need for a Mario Merz show in London, historically, aesthetically and commercially.
How did it come that Merz has not had an exhibition in London for so many years?
It’s hard to say but there’s definitely a resurgence of Arte Povera right now with the recent dOCUMENTA (13) curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, one of the experts on Arte Povera, Giuseppe Penone’s exhibition at Versailles etc. We’re staging a small retrospective at our gallery at 6 Burlington Gardens, in the heart of Mayfair where most of the collectors come.
Can you tell us more about his last exhibition in London in 1993?
It was Anthony d’Offay’s exhibition, presented in 1993, and Merz was still alive. Like our exhibition, his featured one igloo. Our exhibition features a triple igloo, which is the last ever made, and it combines all the elements from Merz’s artistic language. Merz began constructing igloos in 1968 using a variety of materials, and this particular one combines many of these earthen and industrial objects—metal rods, neon, clamps, clay, glass and stone—in its tripartite structure.
How was the collaboration with the Merz Foundation born?
We announced the collaboration with the Merz Foundation at Frieze last year and we’re now staging this small retrospective. Beatrice Merz is supervising this exhibition with us and we’re delighted it’s happening. Right now, we’re focusing on this show, which will coincide with Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters – we’ll be at both fairs this year.
Are the works on show for sale? What is the price range of the works?
Yes, it’s a selling exhibition for sure. Any interested clients should get in touch with us regarding prices.
What is the provenance of the works?
Mainly European and American private collections as well as the from the Merz Collection.
How has Merz’s market developed in the last years?
It’s a good moment for Arte Povera. Mario Merz is the founding father, the reference so it makes sense for us to show his works. We’re known for museum-quality exhibition and this is one of them. He had an impact on so many other artists today, on those who continued the Arte Povera movement, and on many others.
And in comparison to the other representatives of Arte Povera?
Mario Merz is still undervalued. As far as other Arte Povera artists, it’s hard to say.
Which are the most requested works and why?
The igloos and the Fibonacci are highlights of this exhibition because they strike something in everyone’s mind. People ask a lot about them. It’s interesting to note in this exhibition that sculptures and works on paper that express some of his most enduring motifs are also included. The show is on both floors of the gallery so plenty to discover or rediscover.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE