But here’s a piece of art that kicks NFT butt, big time. It’s a sculpture called “I Am” and it both proves you don’t need technology to make art and that you really can pay a small fortune on nothingness. We're talking about a void, as the Italian media describes it, a completely white space filled with energy, an invisible, immaterial sculpture.
Created by Sardinia-born artist Salvatore Garau, “I Am” was sold at an Art-Rite auction for €15,000 (approximately $18,300 at the current exchange rates). There is no physical representation of the sculpture, neither in print or digital format, because it is “invisible.” The only physical way to confirm it exists is the new owner’s certificate of authenticity, which is where parallels with NFT art can be drawn.
According to Il Giorno, the piece should be displayed in a special room, in a space free from obstruction, of about 150x150 cm (4.92x4.92 feet). Presumably, special lighting and climate control in that space are optional, since you can’t see the piece either way.
To those assuming Garau might have pulled the smartest art prank since the banana taped to the wall piece (which sold for $120,000), a word from Garau: he didn’t sell nothing; he created a void. That space is not empty but occupied by the energy of the sculpture he removed from it.
“The successful outcome of the auction testifies to an irrefutable fact: the void is nothing but a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and nothing remains, according to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle that nothingness has a weight,” he says. “It therefore has energy that condenses and transforms itself into particles, in short, in us! When I decide to ‘exhibit’ an immaterial sculpture in a given space, that space will concentrate a certain quantity and density of thoughts in a precise point, creating a sculpture that from my title alone will take the most varied forms. After all, don’t we give shape to a God we have never seen?”
Or, if you’re feeling more generous, you can always say Garau sold an idea of a work of art. Still, it beats NFT artwork, if only on the consideration that “I Am” has a non-existent footprint. Fancy and sustainable!