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Italian Artist's 'Invisible' Sculpture That Literally Doesn't Exist Fetches Rs 13.36 Lakh at Auction

Salavatore Garau

Salavatore Garau

Despite lacking any physical form, artist Salvatore Garau said that the 'immaterial' sculpture titles Io Sono (meaning 'I am') very much existed in its nothingness.

If you thought non-fungible tokens were weird, behold, because the world of art just got weirder. An Italian artist recently managed to auction an “invisible sculpture" for 1,500 Euros. The “immaterial" artwork is unusual in that it is ‘nothing’, meaning it literally does not exist in the material world. Created by 67-year-old artist Salvatore Garau, the sculpture was set to be auctioned for 6,000-9,000 Euros but ended up fetching 1,500 Euros ($18,300 or Rs 13.36 lakh approximately).

The artwork, tirled Io Sono (meaning “I am") went up for auction last month at an Italian auction house called Art-Rite. According to the artist, despite lacking any physical form, the sculpture very much existed in its nothingness. Speaking to reporters, Garau said, “The vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that nothing has a weight". Spanish news platform Diario AS further quoted the artist as saying, “…It has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us."

The ‘lucky’ buyer who managed to buy the ‘sculpture’ was given a certificate of authenticity and a set of instructions on how to “display" the invisible sculpture. According to the instructions, the sculpture is to be exhibited in a space with five by five dimensions and no obstructions inside a “private" house, ArtNet reported.

The artist further added that by ‘exhibiting’ an invisible object in a certain space, the artist was actually trying to concentrate the viewers’ thoughts and perceptions on that empty space. This, in turn, will lend various shapes and shades to the sculpture.

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The artist also compared his artwork to the idea of ‘God’, who is also formless and yet believed to exist in the form that we see them in. “After all, don’t we shape a God we’ve never seen?" the artist asked reporters.

While cynics may laugh off the rather obscurantist connotations of Garau’s artwork, “Io Sono" is not the first piece of weird art to have made it to the headlines for its exorbitant selling price. In 2016, Irish-born photographer Kevin Abosch entered the contemporary art world’s hall of fame by managing to auction off a photograph of an ordinary potato for $1 million. In 2013, Onement VI, a painting by Barnett Newman depicting two equal-sized, blue coloured rectangles, painted on a large canvas sold for a whopping 43.84 million dollars.

Recently, with the coming of NFTs, the art world has taken a turn for further absurdity and abstraction. In March, for instance, a single red dot of pixel by artist Unhomed was reportedly selling as an NFT for almost $900,000.

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first published:June 04, 2021, 12:50 IST