BY JULIE SEYLER
I went uptown to see an exhibit on the Italian artist Marisa Merz at the Met Breuer on 75th Street and Madison Avenue. I expected nothing, but ended up walking out seduced.
Merz’s work is original and unique in that way that may recall Eva Hesse (because of its manipulation of everyday items in a way that forces one to rethink the nature and purpose of the objects), but retains the essence of an Italian woman who was a dedicated believer in the philosophy of Arte Povera, the postwar Italian movement that favored sculptures and installations fashioned from humble, often discarded materials. For example, she made an armchair, but hers is seemingly bandaged together with strips of aluminum remnants that almost recall rags. There’s a chair fit for a 6-year old, except that it is pierced with nails.
She knitted copper wire into wall murals with infinite space and intricate detail.
Her drawings and paintings speak of women screaming to be heard and seen; of women filled with compassion, tenderness and anger. Of women passionate from maternal love.
She made fountains with gurgling water.
Perhaps the power of her work is its utter simplicity. It made me want to look again and again to see what I missed when I first looked. If you are in the mood for a visual stimulation, I recommend this show.