I thought I'd seen everything, but apparently, I've never seen an invisible statue. And neither has anyone else.
Italian artist Salvatore Garau sold an invisible statue for 15,000 euros ($18,180) at auction this month. The original price was between 6,000 and 9,000 euros, except some people became very greedy about owning nothing. So the contest for stupidest rich person — sorry, "auction" — drove the price up.
If they really want to own nothing, I can sell them jars of it for $50 a pop.
Garau's new piece is called "lo sono" ("I am"), and it's what pretentious art snobs call an "immaterial sculpture," which means it does not exist.
And the producers of Seinfeld wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.
It's sort of like how I have a dozen immaterial doughnuts on my desk right now, and I couldn't be happier.
Well, I could because it's an immaterial happiness.
Last month, Garau posted an Instagram video of another immaterial statue called "Buddha in Contemplazione," or Buddha in Contemplation. He had "placed" it inside a taped-off square on a brick sidewalk, where a German tourist promptly tripped over it.
The video's opening caption said, "now it exists and will remain in this space forever." Except when Garau wasn't looking, a roving gang of mimes moved it ten feet to the left.
Additional text said, "The sculpture I installed in front here, above the white square space, is titled 'Buddha in Contemplation.' You do not see it, but it exists, it is made of air and spirit.
"It is a work that asks you to activate the power of imagination, a power anyone has even those who don't think they have it."
I have a pretty good imagination, but even I can't imagine being stupid enough to give $18,000 to someone who held their hands two feet apart and said, "Here you go."
"It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be," the buyer said, only no one could hear it.
But "lo sono" is a completely different statue than "Buddha in Contemplazione." They're nothing alike, the styles are different, and I imagine Grau took a lot longer to make "lo sono." I mean, he didn't just snap his fingers and shout, "POOF! MAGIC STATUE!" right?
Now that I think about it, I hope that when he installs the statue, he goes through the motions of lifting it and putting it in place.
"Lo sono" is not nothing, says Garau. It's 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," Garau said in an interview on AS.com. "Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us."
Except a vacuum does not have oxygen in it. It also doesn't have a fart from a passing dog named Mr. Pugglesworth. Which is why you don't put immaterial vacuum statues outside.
Garau added, "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?"
Garau said that whoever bought the statue will need to have an unobstructed and cleared space that's 5 feet by 5 feet.
Make no mistake. If I pay $18,000 for an invisible statue, I will damn well display it wherever I want. If I stick it on a bookshelf or let the dog sleep on it, it's no longer your concern. Maybe I'll slide it under the bed when guests come over, next to the rowing machine I haven't seen since 2017. Or maybe, I'll just set it on my dining table, where it can sit and take up all that space during family dinners.
Garau will also give the buyer a signed and stamped certificate of authentication.
That's not good enough. There's too great a potential for fraud and deceit. Like, how do we know the thing didn't get knocked over by the auction house's cleaning staff? Who's to say it didn't break when they delivered it to the buyer's home?
For all you know, I've already stolen it, and I've got it precariously balanced on my desk in my garage, in clear violation of Garau's 5 foot by 5-foot display requirement.
And maybe I've hired one of the world's greatest invisible sculpture forgers — that is, he's a forger of invisible sculptures. Also, he's invisible — to make smaller replicas of the statue.
Replicas which I'm now making available to you for a small price.
You, too, can have your own miniature replica of "lo sono," perfect in every way, down to the last detail. Each replica is stored inside a high-quality acrylic display case, included with your purchase.
To get your miniature replica of "lo sono," send me $100 via PayPal or Venmo. I will immediately ship your very own miniature "lo sono," complete with certificate of authentication, which is also invisible.
Best of all? I'm not charging sales tax for your purchase. Why?
Kindle version here or the paperback version here.