Lucio FontanaNew York
Spatial Concept, Waiting, 1967
ProvenanceGalleria del Leone, Venezia,
Galleria San Luca, Bologna,
there acquired by the last owner.
LiteratureE. Crispolti, Fontana. Catalogo generale, Milan, 1986, vol. II, p. 676.
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana. Catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, Milan, 2006, vol. II, p. 870, no. 67 T 128 (illustrated).
A single, clean slash sweeps defiantly through the flaming red surface of Lucio Fontana’s Spatial Concept, Waiting. Executed in 1967, a decade after Fontana first made this radical artistic breakthrough and inaugurated the series of tagli for which he is best known, this work embodies the dramatic conceptual and formal power of the slash. This singular, irretractable and irrevocable gesture served as the climactic iteration of Fontana’s Spatialism, a visionary movement that saw the artist overturn convention, incorporating the dynamic elements of time, space and light into his art to embody the extraordinary, epoch-defining developments of the space age. Glowing against the deep monochrome surface, the single sweeping slash reveals a sliver of enigmatic darkness, an entrancing vision of the newly discovered realm of infinite, cosmic space, an unknown, unfathomable spatial dimension.
It was first with the buchi and subsequently with the tagli that Fontana succeeded in creating art that transcended the boundaries of painting and sculpture to instead become ‘spatial concepts’. "We live in the mechanical age", he stated. "Painted canvas and upright plaster no longer have any reason to exist" (Manifiesto Blanco, 1946 in E. Crispolti & R. Siligato, eds., Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Rome, 1998, p. 115). By penetrating through the flat, two-dimensional picture plane and revealing the dark space that lay beyond, Fontana introduced real space and by extension, time, into the structure of the canvas. The chasm of blackness that is revealed by the penetrating slash encourages the viewer to contemplate the infinite void that exists beyond the earth’s surface. In this way, Fontana had not only created a work that could interact with reality, but one that elegantly encapsulated the extraordinary developments of his time.
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