I thought I’d seen it all until last week when I read a report about an Italian artist who had auctioned off an ‘invisible’ sculpture for $18,300.
How do you make a sculpture invisible? Er, you don’t. You simply pretend that you have made one, produce a plinth, say that although you can’t see it, it is certainly there, and then attract bids.
If this seems like lunacy, you may not be far wrong. However, Salvatore Garau explained away this exercise in conceptual art by saying: “It is a work that asks you to activate the power of the imagination.”
In doing so, he titled the work Io Sono (I am), arguing that the vacuum in which the ‘artwork’ sat was “nothing more than a space full of energy” – although I would counter that if it is a vacuum, then it wouldn’t have any energy, even if, as Garau continued, the Heisenberg Principle states that even ‘nothing’ has weight.
Nonetheless, if you can conjure no more than an idea from nothing, what was it that the successful bidder got for their money? A certificate of authenticity accompanied by a set of instructions on how to exhibit the invisible sculpture. These stipulated that it must be displayed in a five foot square space unencumbered by any obstruction.
Confident in his logic, Garau justifies his creation and its sale by arguing: “After all, don’t we shape a God we’ve never seen?”
I’ll leave you with that thought.