Marisa Merz


pencil and charcoal on paper
44 1/4 x 32 3/8 inches

Marisa Merz was an early member of the Arte Povera group (its only female member), and gained attention for her crocheted wire pieces and sculptures that used industrial materials. As her career progressed, a decidedly tender side came to the fore in figurative works that incorporated a variety of 2D and 3D materials. A demure, almost-ghostly figure appears in many of these pieces, seen in this untitled work, and they are often interpreted as self-portraits of the artist. With just a few delicate marks in pencil and charcoal, Merz gives us the outline of a head with eyes and mouth pointing upward in a gentle, hopeful gaze. Merz’s work has been exhibited at museums worldwide, and in 2013 she was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 55th Venice Biennial.