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Artist Sells “Invisible Sculpture” for Thousands. Prank or Genius? Or Both?

Part of me respects the hustle.

Salvatore Garau Invisible Sculpture

Italian artist Salvatore Garau has apparently just sold an invisible sculpture for $18,000. Yeah, no need to rub your eyes or clean your glasses and try to make this make sense. You read it right the first time, and it’s as outrageous as you’d expect with a side of genius, because you’ve got to respect the hustle.

First on the outrageous bit of this all. Garau, has previously said of another “invisible sculpture” that it’s made of “air and spirit.” Named “Io Sono” (I am), the sculpture has no physical form to speak of, and this absolute nothing is meant to be displayed in a five-foot by five-foot square, though it’s unclear if you’re supposed to mark it off with tape as Garau did for his invisible “Buddha in Contemplation” in the Piazza della Scala in Milan.

He clarified, according to Newsweek, that “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 is basically going, See, this is just like God. We’ve never seen him, but we know he’s a space full of energy and force in our lives—well, not in my life, because I’m an atheist, but you get the point. But it takes some serious confidence to compare your art to an invisible God that millions of people believe in.

This is where things get a little bit ridiculous. Because before, I could respect the hustle, and swindling rich folks out of their money à la Robin Hood. But the further you read about Garau, this was not meant as a joke. He meant every single word and would do it all over again if an idea were sparked or if a market were to open up for it.

Garau doubled down, Newsweek reports, by saying that his sculpture “must be displayed in a private home free from any obstruction.” In a private home … because? I figure the fewer people that see it, the more attention it’ll get, and more people want to check it out. And if you’re worried about proof of purchase of the absolutely nothing you will receive, no biggie. He’s got you there with your very own certificate of authenticity—the only tangible item the buyer will receive, like some kind of real-world NFT.

Thank God, too! Imagine buying something invisible, that no one will believe is art, to just turn around and realize you bought nothing but air. *Wipes brown in relief.* The devastation would be real and how would you be able to claim it on your insurance and all that jazz?

Here’s a video of “Buddha in Contemplation” from his Instagram:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Salvatore Garau (@salvatore_garau)

This isn’t the first time a piece of art exceeded expectations and sold for thousands. Some paintings sell for millions. There was a painting that was just orange, red, and yellow on the canvas by Mark Rothko that sold for $86 million. Then, there’s a Jackson Pollock that is basically blobs of color that sold for $161.7 million.

What do you think? Would you buy this sculpture for $18,000?

(via HypeBeast, image: Salvatore Garau Instagram screenshot)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.