With its sensual, high gloss surface, Lucio Fontana’s ceramic Concetto spaziale a riflessi, 1962, represents an intimate version of his monolithic Natura sculptures created only three years earlier. Forming his block of clay into a smooth, tactile object, Fontana demonstrates his mission to create art where ‘existence, nature and matter come together in a perfect unity’ (B. Arias, H. Cazeneuve and M. Fridman, Manifesto Blanco, Buenos Aires 1946). Alongside his archetypal punctured and slashed canvases, Fontana maintained an interest in the physical possibilities of sculptural materials throughout his career. His earliest works from before the Second World War already displayed a fascination with the malleability of clay, and Concetto spaziale a riflessi demonstrates his ongoing desire to manipulate space in the round. The artist’s continued use of ceramics enabled him to create works of unsettling ambiguity, extending his exploration of the relationship between space, time and motion that lay at the core of his Spatialist theories. Both transcendent and earthly, its gleaming, reflective surface may be seen to follow on from the artist’s series of gold and silver works created in response to his visits to Venice and New York the previous year, which paved the way for the Metalli works of 1962-1965. Molded from dense physical matter and punctuated by two holes, the sculpture’s primordial dynamism is indicative of Fontana’s desire to create art that reflected the concerns of the Space Age. Speaking of the Natura works, Fontana explained how ‘I was thinking of those worlds, of the moon with these... holes, this atrocious unnerving silence, and the astronauts in a new world. And, then, these... in the artists imagination... these immense things billions of years old – man arrives, in this deathly silence, in this anguish, and leaves a living sign of his presence... were these not the solid shapes that bore signs of wanting to make inert matter come alive?’ (L. Fontana, quoted in Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 2000, p. 194). Concetto spaziale a riflessi is born of the same aesthetic: like the astronaut leaving his footprints on the moon, here the artist has forced his mark upon the object, leaving a visible trace of his existence in time and space.