THE FONTANA PHENOMENON: from Seaside to StudioLondon
Private collection, Milan;
Galerie Karsten Greve, Saint Moritz;
Private collection, Milan.
LiteratureLucio Fontana, l’altro spazio, Milan, 1999, pp. 27, 69, illustrated.
ExhibitionsRodengo Saiano, Abbazia Olivetana di San Nicola, Lucio Fontana, l’altro spazio, 12 September–1 November 1999
Fontana created a number of Crucifixion sculptures in the decade following the Second World War. Some, such as the present example, hang from the wall, while others were freestanding or lie on their sides. The variety of compositions point to Fontana’s simultaneous engagement with public Christian imagery, namely crosses used in Roman Catholic liturgy and ceremonies, and private devotional practices. This particular work, with its scalloped edge and pastelline colors, evokes the ornamental vocabulary and palette of Rococo churches, but renders it on an intimate and scale and in an entirely modern idiom. Unlike earlier images of Christ’s suffering, the sculpture focusses on the ecstatic energy of rebirth, a theme which resonated deeply with Fontana in the postwar era, having himself emerged phoenix-like from the ruins of his Milan studio, which had been destroyed by Allied bombing. Indeed, is was at this very moment that set upon his mission to revolutionize the making and understanding of art. Alluding to the Christian narrative of death and resurrection, works like this one are emblematic of the rebirth of both Fontana and Italian art more broadly following the devastation of war.
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