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Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ITALIAN COLLECTION
Lucio Fontana (Italy, 1899-1968)

Concetto Spaziale

Lucio Fontana (Italy, 1899-1968)
Concetto Spaziale
signed 'l. Fontana' (on the underside)
painted and enameled terracotta
22 x 43.5 x 20 cm. (8 5/8 x 17 1/8 x 7 7/8 in.)
Executed in 1960-1965
Private Collection, Milan.
Anon. sale, Cambi Casa d’Aste, Genova, 28 April 2015, lot 69.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Special Notice

This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for such lots in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import the lots into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import.
Post Lot Text
The work is registered in the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milan under no. 1015/8.
This work is accompanied by the authentication certificate released by Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milan.

Lot Essay

A sleek, gleaming surface is pierced by four ragged perforations in Lucio Fontanas Concetto spaziale (1960–65). Fontana’s buchi (or holes) violently puncture the smooth, glistening skin of an ovoid with sharp corners, defiantly inflated like an American football. These welts are confined inside a shallow curvilinear perimeter, which snakes around the top of the object, recalling the tagli (or cuts) of Fontana’s canvas work. Concetto spaziale channels many of Fontana’s Spatialist investigations, particularly pertaining to man’s place in the universe and the dichotomy between materiality and spatial nothingness, between presence and void. Fashioned in an alluring, seductive black, Concetto spaziale appears almost as a cosmic body, Fontana’s buchi erupting like vortexes into another dimension.

Fontana trained as a sculptor before the Second World War, producing semi-figurative terracotta works that channelled his initial aspiration to spatialise visual art. Inspired by the grandiose, sculptural conceits of the Baroque, the interpenetration of substance and space in these works created a dynamic sense of movement. Fontana returned to sculpture in the summer of 1959, ‘in the way that perhaps responded most profoundly to his secret expressive needs’, suggested Guido Ballo (G. Ballo, Lucio Fontana , New York, 1971, p. 172). With this new range of work, Fontana went beyond the flatness of a penetrated or slashed canvas, redefining solidity and nullity on a truly three dimensional plane, manifesting in plastic form his longing for an ‘art based on the unity of time and space’ (L. Fontana, ‘Manifesto Blanco’, reproduced in E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana , Milan, 1998, p. 116).

However, whilst resonating with many of the Spatialist concerns inherent in Fontana’s earlier sculpture and painting, Concetto spaziale is steeped in a Space Age tension relating to man’s place in an ever-expanding cosmos. As the present work demonstrates, in the 1960s Fontana’s buchi became increasingly wider; gaping wounds forcibly stretched by the artist’s hands. This injury was informed by Fontana’s grave concern for astronauts working in harsh, insecure and unpredictable conditions. Discussing his oil paintings of the same period, Fontana explained that his broad buchi ‘represent the pain of man in space. The pain of the astronaut, squashed, compressed, with instruments sticking out of his skin, is different from ours… he who flies in space is a new type of man, with new sensations, not least painful ones’ (L. Fontana, quoted in Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 2000, p. 44). The ecstatic, optimistic purity of Fontana’s earlier work and writing, signified by the Manifesto Blanco (1946), becomes somewhat convoluted by the reality of claustrophobic interstellar exploration, but his Spatialism is exhilaratingly revitalised as a result of it. Smothered in a deep blackness, a vessel for the interplay of light and shadow in dynamic space, Concetto spaziale is a strikingly thrilling response to man’s voyage into the uncharted territory of the stars.

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