June 18, 2021

In Italy, an invisible sculpture sold at auction for nearly 15,000 euros

A transparent work sold for € 15,000

It is an atypical sculpture that was sold in Milan on May 18 by the auction house Art-Rite, specializing in contemporary art. Entitled I am (“I am”), the work of the Italian artist Salvatore Garau has this originality of being… invisible. This did not prevent it from selling for 15,000 euros, while the starting price was set at 6,000 euros. The purchaser, who preferred to remain anonymous, has received a certificate of guarantee and originality of the work. “However, one of my collectors intends to contact the Art-Rite auction house to make a takeover offer to the anonymous owner”, however indicates to World the artist Salvatore Garau.

Explanation in text

Although invisible, this sculpture does exist, according to its creator. The latter even gave the instructions for the exhibition of this immaterial work: it must be installed in a private house, in the center of an open room, in a square of 150 by 150 centimeters, delimited by duct tape on the floor. And what does it represent? It all depends on who is looking at it. « I am is the portrait of anyone who pronounces or thinks about the title in front of the empty space, explains its author. The freedom of interpretation is total. May it be used to think differently, by abstaining from everything and especially images! ” This immateriality of the work has nevertheless provoked misunderstandings, even criticism, on the part of certain observers. “Seeing nothing drives you crazy. If it is misinterpreted, the void creates anguish ”, justifies its author.

The seven statues

Trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Salvatore Garau is not his first invisible sculpture. The 67-year-old painter and plastic artist had already exhibited a similar work in the square in front of La Scala in Milan. Entitled Buddha in contemplation (“Buddha in contemplation”), it was materialized by a square of adhesive tape placed on the ground. In New York, a hoop on the cobblestones in front of Federal Hall indicates the location of the sculpture Aphrodite weeps (“Aphrodite weeping”) since May. Other cities have contacted the artist to exhibit his works, but Salvatore Garau already knows that he will stop after seven intangible achievements. “A symbolic number”, he says, currently considering the fourth location in his collection.

Artistic void

Is the void artistic? This is a question worthy of a baccalaureate philosophy test. The idea of ​​exposing emptiness has become recurrent in recent years in the history of art. As early as 1958, Yves Klein already left the Iris Clert gallery in Paris entirely empty for his exhibition entitled “The specialization of sensitivity in the state of raw material in stabilized pictorial sensitivity”. In 2009, the Center Pompidou presented “Vides”, a retrospective bringing together exhibitions “Which rigorously showed nothing”. Salvatore Garau was a disappointment, however. “I am fascinated by the invisible, echoes the artist. The void is full of everything! For me, the void is a “place” of reflection. If you read the void with the right tools, you will discover a world of incredible vitality. ” A good argument for the first part of an essay.