Lucio Fontana

  • New York

    Lucio Fontana

    9 September - 19 November 2021

I do not want to make a painting; I want to open up space.  Lucio Fontana


Puncturing and slashing clay, canvas and metal, Lucio Fontana created art that transcended the boundaries of painting and sculpture to instead become spatial concepts. Using razor-sharp Stanley knives and pointed awls, his dynamic and forceful movements formed a performance akin to action painting. The work of art became a record of time and process.


Ugo Mulas's photographs bring a further dimension to the recording of Fontana's work. Over the course of many years, he visited the artist in his studio and followed his exhibitions. As their friendship grew and Mulas's sensitivity to Fontana's work developed, he became the artist's image-maker, fashioning Fontana as the 'Zorro' of painting. Mulas captured Fontana in the act of creating his dramatic slashes and cuts. Beyond mere documentation, his photographs convey the dynamism of Fontana's movements as well as the profound sense of stillness and contemplation before and after his deliberate rupturing of the picture plane.


In a striking pairing, R+V's exhibition unites Fontana's bold red canvas, Spatial Concept, The Sun, with a rare series of photographs by Mulas of the violent process of its creation. The exhibition illustrates distinct moments in Fontana's career, ranging from serene monochrome canvases to works encompassing rough sand and vivid blue glass. Photographing an artwork is never a neutral process. R+V's exhibition explores the beauty of Fontana's spatial concepts as well as the potential of photography to convey an artwork's essence.


Lucio Fontana & Egidio Costantini
Rosario de Santa Fé 1899–1968 Comabbio & Brindisi 1912–2007
Concetto Spaziale (Spatial Concept), 1964/65
Metal sheet with perforations and seventeen glass balls
100 x 82 x 9.5 cm (39 3/8 x 32 1/4 x 3 3/4 in.)