Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)

Concetto spaziale

Details
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
Concetto spaziale
signed, titled and inscribed ‘l. fontana concetto spaziale 1+1 - AE75’ (on the reverse)
waterpaint on canvas
24 x 18 1/8in. (61 x 46cm.)
Executed in 1960
Provenance
Private Collection, Milan.
Galleria Tega, Milan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana. Catalogo generale, vol. I, Milan 1986, no. 60 B 41 (illustrated, p. 246).
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana. Catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, vol. I, Milan 2006, no. 60 B 41 (illustrated, p. 405).

Special notice

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

‘The discovery of the cosmos is a new dimension, it is infinity, so I make a hole in this canvas, which was at the basis of all the arts and I have created an infinite dimension... the idea is precisely that, it is a new dimension corresponding to the cosmos... The hole is, precisely, creating this void behind there... Einstein’s discovery of the cosmos is the infinite dimension, without end. And so here we have: foreground, middleground and background... to go farther what do I have to do?... I make holes, infinity passes through them, light passes through them, there is no need to paint’(L. Fontana, quoted in C. Lonzi, Autoritratto, Bari 1969, pp. 169-171).

‘I do not want to make a painting – I want to open up a space’ (L. Fontana, 1965, quoted in E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana. Catalogue Raisonné, Vol. I, Brussels 1974, p. 7).

Executed in 1960, Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale belongs to his ground-breaking series of Buchi (Holes). With its punctured, flaming red monochrome surface and its constellation of holes arranged into an oval, it is also a work that relates to – and perhaps anticipates – one of Fontana’s greatest series, La Fine di Dio (The End of God) begun in 1963. It was through the Buchi that Fontana first began to translate his Spatialist adventure and initiated his explorations into the unknown dimensions beyond the canvas. By confronting and piercing the canvas, the artist physically and conceptually destroys it as a two-dimensional space of representation and form. In doing so, he gave birth to an art that goes beyond the limits of the traditional flat painted surface. Through this gesture, Fontana believed he had opened art to new and limitless creative possibilities.

Fontana’s term Concetto spaziale (Spatial Concept) first appeared in 1946 shortly after the publication of the Manifiesto Blanco, a document that outlined the research carried out by a group of artists under Fontana’s leadership. The concepts conveyed in this Manifesto would be further extended in the Manifesto dello Spazialismo published in 1947. Together, these Manifestos presented a call for new forms of art that drew inspiration from the innovative technologies now available to mankind. Fontana thus invited other contemporary artists of the time to release art from the burden of representation and overcome the constraints associated with traditional painting. Initiated in 1949, the Buchi represented Fontana’s first expression of these new concepts.

Fontana’s enduring fascination with the cosmos and the exploration of space is materialized in this Concetto spaziale through the instinctive yet calibrated piercings that form a constellation on the surface of the canvas. The holes created are the traces of the artist’s movements, representing physical expressions of Fontana’s transcendence of the picture plane. The work also articulates Fontana’s exploration of space and light. With its vibrant red monochrome surface, the work glows as if with an inner energy. As we pass in front of the canvas, we notice light passing through the holes, creating a fantastic shimmering effect that invites the viewer to enter into the immaterial voids created by the Buchi. The flat surface gives a sense of calm and seemingly devoid of artistic touch. This effect is dramatically interrupted by Fontana’s punctures, enacted with violence and precision to reveal the space that lies behind the ‘sacred’ conventional picture plane.

The egg-like shape created by Fontana’s arrangement of holes can be seen also to symbolise the birth of a new conception of art. This concept was ultimately immortalized in the renowned Fine di Dio series, which features the same oval composition as the present work. The meaning of the title Fine di Dio is a metaphor for the end of all religions, philosophies and other now obsolete earthbound thinking, while the oval form symbolises the genesis of a new era. By punctuating the canvas to form an egg-like shape, as in the present work, the artist performs an act of destruction and yet, at the same time, one of creation: the birth of Spatial Art. As Fontana wrote, ‘the discovery of the cosmos is a new dimension, it is infinity, so I make a hole in this canvas, which was at the basis of all the arts and I have created an infinite dimension... the idea is precisely that, it is a new dimension corresponding to the cosmos... The hole is, precisely, creating this void behind there... Einstein’s discovery of the cosmos is the infinite dimension, without end. And so here we have: foreground, middleground and background... to go farther what do I have to do?... I make holes, infinity passes through them, light passes through them, there is no need to paint’ (L. Fontana, quoted in C. Lonzi, Autoritratto, Bari 1969, pp. 169-171).

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