Italian Artist Sells An Invisible Sculpture For $18,000!

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Italian artist Salvatore Garau has created several invisible sculptures (Credit: Salvatore Garau, via Instagram)

Some artists seem to excel at impressing the world with artwork that can only be called unusual at best. First, there was Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, a series of three sculptures — each comprising a single banana affixed to a wall with duct tape — that sold for $120,000 apiece in 2019. Now, contemporary Italian artist Salvatore Garau has managed to sell an immaterial, or imaginary, masterpiece to an anonymous buyer for an astonishing 15,000 euros (about $18,000)!

The price even stunned the auctioneers at Art-Rite, who had estimated "lo Sono" (Italian for "I am") to fetch between 6,000 and 9,000 euros at the auction held on May 29, 2021. The imaginary sculpture came with a certificate of authenticity signed and stamped by the artist. Given that there is nothing to see, Garau did not provide lighting instructions to showcase the artwork. He did, however, instruct the buyer to install the sculpture in a five-by-five-foot space that was free of obstruction.

"lo Sono" is not Garau’s first non-existent art creation. In February 2021, the artist presented an invisible piece entitled "Buddha in Contemplation" at the Piazza Della Scala in Milan. The only indication of the sculpture's existence was a square traced in chalk to mark its precise installation spot.

“It is a work that asks you to activate the power of the imagination, a power that anyone has, even those who don’t believe they have it,” Garau said at the unveiling. "Now it exists and will remain in this space forever. You do not see it, but it exists. It is made of air and spirit."

On June 1, 2021, the artist made his US debut with another imaginary masterpiece called "Aphrodite Crying." Despite its prime location in front of the New York City Stock Exchange, the sculpture — evidenced by an empty white chalk circle — is missed by most passersby.

While the immaterial sculptures have most people scratching their heads, the 67-year-old artist believes he is starting a “new, small, authentic revolution." He argues that his art is not just "nothing," but a vacuum.

Garau explains, "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. Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.”

Resources: papermag.com, artnet.com

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175 Comments
  • brittanywolf
    Maybe he is selling light or something i dunno but 18000! WHAT! WHY!
    • mabevytikywe
      I just realized that the piece is titled "lo Sono," which is Italian for "I am." The piece is invisible. Am I the only one who understood that .-.
      • plasmaomni
        plasmaomniabout 1 month
        what if the sculpture was a ghost!
        • fantasyreader65
          fantasyreader65about 1 month
          I am not sure if I am amazed, or utterly confused
        • breathofthewild
          breathofthewildabout 1 month
          Wow... Art is getting weirder and weirder.
          • cocoquinn
            cocoquinnabout 1 month
            Its a scam. The world is turning into adopt me. its a scam. Wow. Its legit just air. AIR!!! The stuff we BREATHE.😂😂
            • cat61
              cat616 days
              Yeah their being cheated .
            • pitcherperfect
              pitcherperfectabout 1 month
              Okay, I would be scared to just walk right into it just minding my own business...
            • mabevytikywe
              mabevytikyweabout 1 month
              I feel like that was just a waste of money
              • jablovesfacts
                jablovesfactsabout 1 month
                Though I feel it is just air.
              • jablovesfacts
                jablovesfactsabout 1 month
                SO COOL!!