Italian artist Salvatore Garau was able to sell his invisible “sculpture” for thousands of euros even though it was made only of air. Titled “Io sono,” or “I am” in English, the sculpture was auctioned off at 15,000 euros, or the equivalent of more than $18,000, to an anonymous buyer on May 18.
Since the artwork is physically non-existent and could not be reproduced physically or digitally, all the buyer received was a certificate guaranteeing that they indeed bought the invisible art.
But the buyer should still reserve a private space that is specifically five by five feet for the sculpture, as per Garau’s instructions. The artist argued that he did not sell “nothing” but instead sold a “vacuum.”
“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,” Garau said as per Italian news outlet Il Giorno.
“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. After all, don’t we shape a God we’ve never seen?”
People who commented about the invisible art made fun of the purchase, with some speculating that a liberal bought it.
“A Libs dream sculpture … it’s anything they say it is,” one person commented on the Fox News website. “Bought by a liberal, you can sell them anything, just ask Biden and the democrat party,” wrote another.
Some were seemingly impressed by Garau, while others suspected that he orchestrated the purchase.
“The artist is absolutely brilliant. When you can get people to buy something that doesn’t exist, you’ve reached hero status in my book,” one person said. “Publicity Stunt. He got someone he knows to cooperate with him. You can’t convince me otherwise,” said another.
“I am” was reportedly the first invisible art that Garau sold but was not the first he “made.” He previously installed another immaterial sculpture, which was titled “Buddha in Contemplazion,” or “Buddha in Contemplation,” in a small marked spot in the middle of the Piazza de Scalla in Milan. In an Instagram post about the artwork, he said that it was made of “air and spirit.” (Related: WTF? Feminist strips naked in front of children for art display (explicit).)
In 2014, a pair of Canadian comedians made an elaborate hoax centering around an invisible art made by a fictitious New York City-based artist named Lana Newstrom.
“Art is about imagination and that is what my work demands of the people interacting with it. You have to imagine a painting or sculpture is in front of you,” the artist supposedly said.
But news reports later revealed that the invisible art was actually a satire started by professional radio parodists Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring. The pair fabricate stories that satirize current affairs and chose this invisible art story for their next assignment.
Kelly said that they liked the story because it could almost be true, noting that the art world reserves a big room for interpretation as to what constitutes art. He and Oldring then thought of pushing that to the extreme by fabricating a story about invisible art. And apparently, many people fell for it. Canadian radio broadcaster CBC published an article about Lana Newstrom and her invisible work, which garnered tens of thousands of likes and shares on Facebook.
Similar stories can be found at Absurd.news.