Born on January 1, 1925 in Milan, Italy, Merz grew up in Turin and was jailed for his collusion with the anti-Fascist group Giustizia e Libertà. In the 1967, the artist joined the Arte Povera movement, where he worked alongside Giovanni Anselmo, Luciano Fabro, and his wife, Marisa Merz. During this time he gained international success, presenting at exhibition with Conceptual, Process, and Minimalist artists. Merz died on November 9, 2003 in Milan, Italy.
Interested in the relationship between art and nature, much of Merz’s work addresses the organic growth of natural elements and the Fibonacci progression, a mathematical formula developed by Leonardo Fibonacci in the Middle Ages.
His works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Tate Gallery in London, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others.