Mario Merz

Che Fare?

About this artwork

Mario Merz’s experimental use of materials led him to combine complex elements, making works that bring together neon lights with everyday utilitarian objects. In this work, the words ‘che fare?’ in turquoise neon script resembling handwriting lie on a pot of wax that melts and bubbles under the heat of the neon. ‘Che fare?’ translates from the Italian as ‘what is to be done?’; the question is taken from the title of a political pamphlet produced by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in 1902. Lenin’s text is often understood to represent a call to form a Marxist party, promoting Marxism within the working classes. Merz became strongly politically motivated after the end of the Second World War, when he joined an anti-fascist organisation.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Che Fare?
  • date created:
    1968 - 1973
  • materials:
    Aluminium, wax and neon lights
  • measurements:
    125.00 x 66.80 x 19.10 cm (2.8 kg)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • accession number:
    AR00598
  • gallery:
  • glossary:
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Mario Merz

Mario Merz