Mario Merz Igloos is an exhibition at Pirelli HangarBicocca dedicated to Mario Merz (Milan, 1925–2003). One of the most relevant post-war artists brings together his most iconic group of works, the igloos, dating from 1968 until the end of his life. Curated by Vicente Todolí, and realized in collaboration with Fondazione Merz, the exhibition spans the whole space of the Navate of Pirelli HangarBicocca, placing the visitor at the heart of a constellation of over 30 large-scale works in the shape of an igloo: an unprecedented landscape of great visual impact.
A key figure of Arte Povera, Mario Merz investigates and represents the processes of transformation of nature and human life: in particular the igloos, visually traceable to primordial habitations, become for the artist the archetype of inhabited places and of the world, as well as a metaphor for the various relationships between interior and exterior, between physical and conceptual space, between individuality and collectivity. These pieces are characterized by a metallic structure coated in a great variety of common materials, such as clay, glass, stone, jute, and steel—often leaning or intertwined in an unstable fashion—and by the use of neon elements and wording.
The Mario Merz Igloos exhibition provides an overview of Merz’s work, of its historical importance and great innovative reach: gathered from private collections and international museums, the igloos will be displayed together in such a large number for the first time.
About Pirelli HangarBicocca
Pirelli HangarBicocca is a non-profit foundation, established in 2004, which has converted a former industrial plant in Milan into an institution for producing and promoting contemporary art. This dynamic center for experimentation and discovery covers 15,000 square meters, making it one of the largest contiguous exhibition spaces in Europe. It presents major solo shows every year by Italian and international artists, with each project conceived to work in close relation to the architecture of the complex, and explored in depth through a calendar of parallel events. Admission to the space and the shows is completely free of charge, and facilitators are on hand to help the public connect with the art. Since 2013, Vicente Todolí has been the foundation’s Artistic Director.
The complex, which once housed a locomotive factory, includes an area for public services and educational activities, and three exhibition spaces whose original twentieth-century architectural features have been left clearly visible: Shed, Navate, and Cubo. As well as its exhibitions program and cultural events, Pirelli HangarBicocca also permanently houses one of Anselm Kiefer’s most important site-specific works, The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, commissioned for the opening of Pirelli HangarBicocca.