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Invisible Sculpture sells for $18,000

Absence is a theme that fails to fascinate the majority of art enthusiasts. Most artists, collectors and critics would prefer to shake their head in disapproval before a poorly painted flower pot than admire a blank canvas, skillfully left void of any brush strokes by a master artist.

Meanwhile, purists of nothingness, such as folk who actively don't collect stamps, prefer no canvas at all, to even an empty one.

Finding meaning in nothing is at the apex of life and art.

As the great philosopher Haruki Fukashima deliberately never said, "Nothingness is not an easy thing to embrace."

To further illustrate his point, Haruki left his very identity and existence in doubt.


Following in the tradition of exploring identity through absence,

Italian artist Salvatore Garau recently produced an invisible sculpture titled Lo Sono. Italian for I Am. It sold at auction for 15,000 euros ($18,300USD).

The buyer will receive a certificate of authentication, signed and stamped by Garau, along with instructions for displaying the work; The sculpture must be displayed in a private home free from any obstruction, in an area 5ft long by 5ft wide. There are no special lighting requirements.


The art of Salvatore Garau is greatly influenced by Hamish 'Hamish' Smyth, although Garau is cleverly unaware of this.

Rolling Stone interviewed Smyth in 1997, following scandalous accusations of Smyth appearing in a photograph despite claiming absence.

Smyth was not producing art back in the 1960s. Initially, Smyth endeavoured to make even nothingness absent from his work. Then he went one step less by completely removing any connection between himself, the artist, and his non-creations.

In his unpublished manuscript, Contemporary Stamp Indifference, Smyth wrote, "Being present in any manner is always a performance, but so long as we exist, our absence is equally performance. Flaunting one's absence may render one more powerfully present than if one were actually there...But to be neither absent or present, to be a non-person, to not exist at all, to dissolve into nothingness, and hence come to be an authentic, non-self—that is the ultimate in spirituality, wisdom and art."



Buddha in Contemplation, by Salvatore Garau

Before creating, I Am, Garau installed another immaterial sculpture titled Buddha in Contemplation, in the Piazza della Scala in Milan.

"Now it exists and will remain in this space forever," says Garau. "You do not see it but it exists."

A video on Garaus Instagram page shows the taped-off area where the work is located.

In a recent interview, Garau said, "When I decide to exhibit an immaterial sculpture in a given space, that space will concentrate a certain amount and density of thoughts at a precise point, creating a sculpture that, from my title, will only take the most varied forms."


When comparing his Buddha in Contemplation and I Am, the latter emerges as the more powerful work.

I Am ironically suggests of the artist himself, I am not. The denial of selfhood, through the absence of art, follows in the footsteps of Hamish 'Hamish' Smyth.


So perhaps the final word on nothingness and absence in art ought to be left to Smyth, who once said in a powerfully brilliant insight, "

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