Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)

Concetto spaziale

Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
Concetto spaziale
signed, titled and dated 'l. fontana "Concetto spaziale" 1957' (on the reverse)
aniline on paper canvas
27 5/8 x 27 5/8in. (70 x 70cm.)
Executed in 1957
Acquired directly from the artist by the previous owner and thence by descent to the present owner.
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana Catalogue raisonné des peintures, sculptures et environnements spatiaux, vol. II, Brussels 1974, no. 57 CA 7, p. 76 (illustrated, p.77).
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana Catalogo generale, vol. I, Milan 1986, no. 57 CA 7 (illustrated, p. 267).
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, vol. I, Milan 2006, no. 57 CA 7 (illustrated, p. 433).
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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Lot Essay

'My art is directed towards this purity, it is based on the philosophy of nothingness, a nothingness that does not imply destruction, but a nothingness of creation'.
L. Fontana, quoted in 'interview with Carla Lonzi', Milan 10 October, 1967, in Lucio Fontana, Sedici sculture 1937-67, exh cat., Milan, 2007, p. 35.

Lucio Fontana's Concetto spaziale is an important example from a series of works on paper that he created from 1957, the year this was made, until 1959. In these pioneering works, he began to hone the formula for his celebrated Attese, also known as his tagli, or 'cuts'. While the Tagli clearly had their origins in 1957 or perhaps even earlier, Fontana did not exhibit such works until 1959, making Concetto spaziale all the more important as an early and historic example of what would soon become his most recognised 'motif'.
For Fontana, paper was a crucial support in which he often experimented with the breakthroughs which have seen his art remain so current: in the late 1940s, it had been in that medium that he had originally pioneered the punctured surface that has become so emblematic of his Spatialism. Now, almost a decade later, works on paper were again the arena for the innovation which again and again saw Fontana propelling himself to the forefront of the avant garde. Looking at Concetto spaziale, the ancestor of the 'cut' is clearly in evidence in the elongated perforations that have proliferated upon the surface here. As was the case in several of the earlier examples of the Attese, these cuts have a near-figurative dimension, serving as substitutes to, say, figures or indeed the reeds of an oriental landscape. At the same time, the presence of this fourth dimension, cutting through the sheer monochrome surface of the paper, opening up slivers of space within its very fabric, cuts to the heart of Fontana's Spatialism, a form of art suited to the era of space flight.
Indeed, it appears to have been the 1957 launch of Sputnik, the first satellite to be sent into space, which helped to inspire the 'cuts'. Suddenly, Mankind was on the brink of travel through the Cosmos; accordingly, Fontana sought a new idiom for his Spatialism. With the clutch of gravity overcome, Fontana sought to reduce the materiality that had built up in some of his previous works. The thick paint matter of the Barocchi and the Inchiostri, for example, which resonated with the developments of Art Informel, now gave way to monochrome works elegantly perforated with simple slashes, themselves indicative of a balletic manoeuvre on his part, rather than the more frantic puncturing of the Buchi. Just as Man was on the brink of leaving Earth, in Fontana's mind, so too his art abandoned more of its substantiality, placing the emphasis, as is the case in Concetto spaziale, on the spaces themselves.

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