Mario Merz’s work, Untitled, 1984, is characterised by a sequence of layers of paint, graphic strokes and applied elements on a light-coloured background that contribute to the creation of a large face. The prevailing colour scheme consisting of red, silver and black fields was applied on the wall by spraying and subsequently enriched with strokes made with chalks of different colours. To complete the pictorial work, two applied elements were inserted in the central area between the eyes: a black metal sculpture and a neon light. All the finishing touches were made with quick gestures and only in the case of the central red cone did the artist use a shaped element to guide his work and achieve a geometric form with a regular profile.
Untitled was created on the occasion of DIFFERENTI SENSAZIONI 3, a theatre and visual art review in Collegno and Rivoli, from 1 to 29 July 1984, conceived and organised by Stalker Teatro, curated by Gabriele Boccacini. The review and Merz’s work identified the cultural initiative as a moment of confrontation, exchange and liberation, reflecting on the space of Pavilion 14 and the human events it had hosted and experienced. The spaces of what was then the former Psychiatric Hospital were thus transformed. The dialogue and intertwining of theatrical practices and visual art marked the character of a new place of culture and youthful protagonism that is now completely returned to the community.
In 2022, thanks to the support and joint action of the Municipality of Collegno, the Fondazione CRT and the Fondazione Merz, it was possible to set about restoring the work, which was in a state of serious deterioration. Prior to the restoration of the pictorial surfaces by Galileo Pellion di Persano, careful historical research made it possible to reconstruct with certainty the phases and methods by which the work had been created and the original state it was in in 1984. A masonry stage leaning against the work was removed, as this was jeopardising both the conservation of the work and its complete visibility.