Igloo del Palacio de las Alhajas (Igloo at Palacio de las Alhajas)

Mario Merz

Milan, Italy, 1925 - Turin, Italy, 2003
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Metal, glass, quartz, slate stone, river sand and heather branches
  • Technique: 
  • Descriptive technique: 
    An assemblage with a structure of metal, glass, slate, quartz, heather branches and river sand
  • Dimensions: 
    250 x 500 x 500 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Igloo del Palacio de las Alhajas (Igloo at Palacio de las Alhajas) is a work by Mario Merz done especially for the Correspondencias: 5 arquitectos, 5 escultores exhibition of 1982, curated by Carmen Giménez and the sculptor Juan Muñoz. The title comes from the original site it occupied at the exhibition. Merz began building igloos when Arte Povera was in full swing in the late 1960s, using discarded industrial materials as well as natural elements to reflect an idea of setting up the archaic in opposition to the modern. Part of this approach was Igloo del Palacio de las Alhajas, which is a new take, years later, of a contemplation on the archetypal living space, at whose centre burns the primordial fire, around which the home is formed, represented here by a nucleus of quartz contained within a second igloo. Merz had a dual objective in his use of glass in this work: to give the work the luminosity associated with ice, and also to make it see-through so that the viewer’s gaze would penetrate through the outside of the hemispheric body right to the core of the sculpture, in keeping with the theme of transparency constant in his work. So the transparent property of glass as an artificial, manmade element is linked to the translucent aspect of ice as a natural element, which fits in with a more general view, typical of Merz’s work, to with the relationship between nature and culture.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio