"With this formula I have succeeded in giving the spectator an impression of spatial calm, cosmic rigour, serenity and infinity." (cited in Lucio Fontana exh. cat., Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1998, p.250.)
So Fontana commented about his Attese the slashed paintings entitled "Spatial Concepts" for which he is perhaps best known. When Fontana first punctured the two dimensional plane of the canvas with the elegant slash of his Stanley knife, his aim was to open up this traditional two-dimensional support for illusionistic representation to the new infinite dimension of space. It was an act or gesture which Fontana intended to mark the genesis of what he called a new 'Spatial' art - an art that Fontana intended would both express and contain within it an implicit understanding of the space as an infinite dimension and new material of art.
Fontana's Attese are the simplest, most elegant and powerful of his works in this respect. Like all his work they mark the artist's 'escape' from a dimension-filled universe and signify his intention of operating within the context of an infinite one. Talking towards the end of his life about his development of "Spatial" art and his "concetto spaziale" or spacial concepts Fontana remarked that "If any of my discoveries are important, the hole is. By hole I mean going outside the limitations of a picture frame and being free in one's conception of art... I did not make holes in order to wreck the picture. On the contrary, I made holes in order to find something else. They were never understood. They used to say that I ripped up canvases, destroyed things and wanted to break the rules. But that's not true. Once an American in Venice said to me, "you're the spatialist" but you don't understand about spaces. I said, who are you anyway? Later he got to know me, but he did not ever understand anything about me. But how can you understand space, we have Arizona. There is space for you! So I said to him, look, if it comes to that, I come from South America and we have the Pampas! Which is twice the size of your Arizona! I am not interested in the kind of space you are talking about mine is a different dimension. The hole is this dimension. I say dimension because I cannot think what other word to use. I make a hole in the canvas in order to leave behind me the old pictorial formulae, the painting and the traditional view of art - and I escape symbolically, but also materially, from the prison of the flat surface." (Interview with Tommaso Trini, July 19, 1968 in Studio International 1972.)