Immaterial: Fontana CeramicsLondon
Concetto Spaziale, 1956
signed and dated 'l. Fontana 56' (lower left)
37.2 x 72.7cm / 14.6 x 28.6 in
ProvenancePrivate Collection, Milan.
Private Collection, Berlin until 2018
LiteratureE. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, vol. I, Milan, 2006, no. 56 SC 9, p. 312 (illustrated).
One of the most pioneering artists of the 20th century, Argentine-Italian artist Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) continually challenged the boundaries of the role of the artist and the creation of art, through his use of a variety of materials and forms, and actions. Albeit best known for his Concetti Spaziali on canvas clay modelling and ceramics have always been central to his artistic production. Realized in 1956, the present Concetto Spaziale, belongs to the series Sculture Spaziali (Spatial sculptures) that Fontana realised from 1950 to 1960. However, in spite of the title, rather than sculptures these works are abstract reliefs on terracotta surfaces with occasional colour stains and are characterized by bold holes. They also take the form of layered painted iron structures or bronze panels. In the present work, the terracotta plane is painted in a bold mustard colour with stains of white and grey paint that is superposed on most of the holes. These are clustered in a rectangular shape that follows the borders of the terracotta surface, thus creating a galaxy of holes and cuts that testifies of Fontana’s fascination for Space. The Spatial Sculptures testify of Fontana’s will to explore the possibilities of the material and its interaction with space thus managing to create ‘neither painting nor sculpture, nor lines delimited in space, but continuity of space in matter’. (Fontana quoted in E. Crispolti and R. Siligato (eds.), Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Rome, 1998, p. 118). With its mainly flat surface, the formal quality of this Concetto Spaziale recalls a painting rather than a sculpture. However, the fact that it was made of clay, together with its three-dimensionality given by the modelling of the clay and the rich lumps of paint, turn it into a hybrid between a painting and sculpture. Its three-dimensionality and invasion of space are also achieved by its holes. As a matter of fact, the openings on the terracotta surface create a portal, or a passage, that connects the space of art with the real space. Moreover, at the same time as Fontana was working on this Concetto Spaziale, he was also realizing another important series: the Barocchi (1954-1957). The researches for this series must have influenced the Sculture Spaziali that Fontana realized in those years as they are both characterised by bright colours and by rich chunks of matter that create a unique dynamism in the works. Please note that the availability and price of the above work are subject to changes without prior notice. Where applicable ARR will be added.