Igloo Objet cache-toi


Aluminium, c-clamp, mesh, glass, neon and transformer

185 x 365 cm (72 13/16 x 143 11/16 in.)

“The igloo is the ideal organic shape, both a world and a small house,” said Mario Merz about the potential of the igloo form, which he introduces in his work in 1968. Igloo Objet Cache-toi is part of this iconic series: made with composite materials, it plays on the transparency of the nets and the brightness of the neon lights that spell out the title.

A typical construction of the Inuit people, the igloo is both a protective shelter and a living accommodation. It is built by adding blocks of ice in the shape of a spiral-like structure. For Mario Merz, it is a perfect form with great dialectic power. Both shut and open, sturdy and fragile, one can hide in it even though it is transparent. Above all, the message in neon light echoes one of the most famous May 1968 slogans, “Cache-toi, objet” (“Hide yourself, object!”), which derided the consumerist society: the igloo is also a place for politics.

Igloo Objet Cache-toi was first shown in 2006 at the Where Are We Going? exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, in Venice.