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Lingotto was made in the year that Merz began exhibiting with other Arte Povera artists, and the bundles of brushwood are characteristic of the group’s use of humble materials. A block of beeswax resting on a steel framework evokes a single gold bar – ‘lingotto’ means ‘ingot’ in Italian. Lingotto is also the district of Merz’s home city of Turin where the Fiat factory was located, a modernist yellow building in which his father worked. These disparate references combine to suggest contrasts between poverty and luxury, rural and urban life.

August 2011