THE FONTANA PHENOMENON: from Seaside to StudioLondon
Concetto Spaziale, 1953–55
ProvenanceGalleria Tucci Russo, Torre Pellice
From there acquired by the previous owner
Lucio Fontana began to puncture his canvases with holes (or buchi) around 1949, and then repeated the gesture in his ceramic works. In one regard, the holes simply mark the movement of the artist’s hand, much like the brushstroke in Abstract Expressionist painting. Yet for Fontana the perforations were more significant—by literally ripping into the pictorial surface, Fontana opened up the picture plane, the space occupied by the viewer, to the space that lies beyond. Fontana understood this gesture and its result as a penetration into the limitless possibilities of a boundless universe, stating “I make a hole…and from there I enter into infinity.”
Here, four perfect buchi arranged in a vertical column perforate the surface of a round ceramic platter. The buchi pierce a black oval circumscribed by a line of unglazed terracotta at the centre of the platter, lightly painted in a creamy beige. “Splashes” of the same cream paint seem to explode up out of the buchi, as though the artist’s gesture has penetrated this lower layer of still wet paint and caused it to splatter. Although this has not actually occurred, this carefully calibrated detail draws attention to the impact and meaning of Fontana’s signature gesture.
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