Forma IV presents a significant, expressive example of Agenore Fabbri's intense 'Informel' phase of works, which extended from the late 1950s, until the early 1960s. Executed in 1962, Forma IV departs from the figurative sculptures Fabbri had made earlier, illustrating the experimental and inventive approach to materials, which the artist adopted in those years through a series of abstract works. On a flat panel, Fabbri vertically assembled a series of broken bits of wood planks. Chipped, flaked and splintered, these appear as the remains of Fabbri's others Informel works, in which he chiselled away layers of plywood panels, in order to create surface cracks and 'wounds'. Constructed out of what may be the rest of previous experimentation with material, Forma IV emphasises Fabbri's inventiveness in transforming pure materials into visual phenomena. Standing at the crossroad between painting and sculpture, Forma IV presents a bristling surface on which vertical lines seems to have been squeezed out of flatness by some intrinsic, violent and destructive force.
Despite its abstraction and its affinity with the Art Informel aesthetics, Forma IV retains part of that apocalyptic vision that scholars have detected in Fabbri's earlier figurative sculptures. During the years of the Cold War, Fabbri's anguished figures have been interpreted as visual tokens of the fear of a possible nuclear war, relating in some regards to the Arte nucleare movement, championed by Enrico Baj in 1951 (V.W. Feierabend, 'Agenore Fabbri: Il creatore di immagini', pp. 41-57, in V.W. Feierabend, Agenore Fabbri: catalogo ragionato pittura, vol. II, Milano, 2011, p. 42-46). Through its black monochrome and skeletal structure, Forma IV can be interpreted as charred remains, a dramatically scarred surface, the vestige of a nuclear explosion. Fabbri's gestural action on the material - which has been cracked, ripped, violently shattered - permeates the work with violence, presenting Forma IV as the aesthetic survival of a brutal explosion of energy.