Quotes from Denes, Celant, Simonds, Merz, Turell, and Meyer-Harrison

Mario Merz

“According to evolutionary theories, Event is the only reality while the reality we perceive is forever changing and transforming in an expanding evolutionary universe in which time, space, mass and energy are all interconnected and interdependent.”

— Agnes Denes Rice/Tree/Burial (1968-70)

“He does not accept description and representation of the exterior aspects of nature and life (also they are mass-media) and takes into consideration the special aspect – also those offered by micro-organisms (not very striking but very active). He is interested in placing in the right perspective the minor biomorphic and ecological facts, that can be compared with those that are bigger, more striking but relatively inert; and with the apparent banality of natural and vital facts, he returns to the marvelous. Thus, he rediscovers the magic (of chemical composition and reaction), the inexorableness (of vegetable growth), the precariousness (of material), the falseness (of senses), the realness (of a natural desert, a forgotten lake, the sea, the snow, the forest) – the instability of a biophysical reaction – thus become discovered as an instrument of consciousness in relation to a larger comprehensive acquisition of nature.”

— Germano Celant Introduction to Art Povera (1969)

“I’m interested in the earth and myself, or my body and the earth, what happens when they become entangled with each other and all the things they include emblematically or metaphorically; like my body being everyone’s body and the earth being where everybody lives. The complexities work out from this juncture.”

— Charles Simonds Microcosm to Macrocosm / Fantasy World to Real World: Interview with Lucy Lippard (1974)

“…It has eliminated the canvas as a surface in order to confer value to the most elementary as well as the most complex surfaces: the stasis of the floor, the stasis of the field, or the vertical stasis of walls or bricks, stone, or cement. Arte Povera clings to rafters and it clings to trees.”

— Mario Merz Untitled Statement (1979)

“My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you confront that space and plumb it. It is about your seeing. How you come to it is important. The qualities of the space must be seen, and the architecture of the form must not be dominant. I am really interested in the qualities of one space sensing another. It is like looking at someone looking. Objectivity is gained by being once removed. As you plumb a space with vision, it is possible to “see yourself see.” This seeing, this plumbing, imbues space with consciousness. By how you decide to see it and where you are in relation to it, you create its reality. This piece can change as you move to it or within it. It can be changed as the light source that enters it changes.”

— James Turrell Mapping Spaces (1987)

“And where is it happening? What is the fabric of the place? Is it bricks and stones? Is it ideas? And what do you do at that interaction point? At the meeting of land and water; at the meeting of man, land and water. What happens there?”

— Helen Meyer Harrison Nobody Told Us When to Stop Thinking (1987)

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