Merz became fascinated by architecture: he admired the skyscraper-builders of New York City; his father was an architect; and his art thereby conveys a sensitivity for the unity of space and the human residing therein. He made big spaces feel human, intimate and natural. He was intrigued by the powerful (Wagner, D’annunzio) as well as the small (a seed that will generate a tree or the shape of a leaf) and applied both to his drawing.
In the 60s, Merz’s work with energy, light and matter placed him in the movement that Germano Celant named Arte Povera, which, together with Futurism, remains one of the most influential movements of Italian art in the 20th century. In 1968 Merz began work on his famous igloos, revealing the prehistoric and tribal features hidden within the present time and space. The neon words on his igloos are hallmark Italian phraseology: like "rock ‘n’ roll," they have the power of being the more than catch phrases or slogans, but the voice of his time in history.
Merz said: "Space is curved, the earth is curved, everything on earth is curved" and subsequently produced large curvilinear installations like the one at the Guggenheim in New York. These last works are formally transcendent and unusually light. His site-specific works in archaeological sites redeem spaces from touristy tedium with a single neon line, which serves as source of aesthetic inspiration. He had the wild, immediate perceptiveness of a child. His works encapsulate this nature together with an uncanny universality and versatility.