Fondazione Merz

Wolfgang Laib

9 April  – 7 June 2009


1 – 7 June 2009, 45 Brahmins priests officiate at the Rite of Fire


curated by Beatrice Merz and Maria Centonze

A sense of the balance and harmony that governs the world and the work of man, essential guardian of the universe, lies at the base of the artist’s thinking.

This large one-man show will be held in two moments: it will open with an installation of hundreds of small rice mountains, a line of small mountains of pollen and a great mountain of beeswax Ziggurat, which will fill the entire space of the Foundation.Furthermore, from 1 to 7 June, and for only seven days, the Foundation will be host to a special and interesting event that is part of the artist’s project: forty-five Brahmins priests, from one of the most important temples of southern India, will officiate at the rite of fire, which has been part of Indian tradition for millennia. The public can participate at set times.

A long story lies behind the genesis of this event. For Documenta 1987, Mario Merz invited me to exhibit a vase of pollen on a spiral table. That was the beginning of a beautiful and very precious friendship between two artists with – I believe – different lives, different ages, but sometimes a very similar way of looking. We were both fascinated, something that has much enriched our lives…
So it will be much more than an exhibition of different objects and works; not an exhibition for an individual artist, it will concern the whole world, the universe and also our very existence.
I have had this dream for the whole of my life, since when I tried to be a doctor, realising very quickly meant only dealing with the physical body, whereas our life and existence cannot be reduced simply to matter.
The pollen recalls the beginning and creation; the rice mountains and the beeswax Ziggurat (pyramid and steps) nourishment and the bond of the sky with the earth; in the end, fire recalls destruction and the possible renewal of the world, the transformation of what is physical to a new cycle, to a state of change. (Wolfgang Laib)