Fontana started his Teatrini works after La Fine di Dio (End of God) cycle in 1964, when his theory on Spatialism was already well-defined. Having decisively ventured into the three-dimensional exploration of the canvas several years earlier with his profoundly radical taglie and bucchi paintings, the artist expanded his new-found technical vocabulary in a series of lavish paintings that approached his original artistic theorem from an entirely different angle. The Teatrini cycle is certainly the most symbolically loaded of Fontana’s late oeuvre, presenting a carefully composed dotted line of his bucchi in the setting of a theatre with different abstract and figurative elements protruding from the frame into the picture plane. This engaging set-up is indeed reminiscent of the Renaissance idea of painting as a window into another world – although the world that Fontana presents in his theatre is as much symbolic as it is real.
The dramatic defiance of the flat picture plane, as exemplified by the punctured holes of Concetto Spaziale, Teatrino, not only signalled a decisive break with the long-standing tradition of two-dimensional painting, but was also a reflection on the physical conquest of space that captivated audiences around the world in the 1960s. Enthralled by the daunting prospects of the infinite space beyond the atmosphere, millions of people followed the space race that coincided with Lucio Fontana’s legendary last decade of art-making. The artist himself was deeply preoccupied with such events, and commented with respect to the growing fascination with space which formed around Yuri Gagarin’s first trip in 1961, that his works were “…figurations of man in space, the anguish that seeks forms and has not yet found them, the fear of getting lost, this line of holes indicates man’s journey in space, these are the forms of the inhabitants of other worlds” (the artist, cited in: Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. I, Milan 2006, p. 79).
Offering the viewer an outlook on a nocturnal spectacle that is sublime in the purest sense – beautiful yet frightening – Concetto Spaziale, Teatrino captures the collective spirit of an era in its visually arresting appearance. The punctured dotted pattern and the rich blue colours of the painting point to the artist’s continuous fascination with infinite space, and beautifully encapsulate the philosophical and material explorations of space that have made Lucio Fontana one of the most influential artists of the Twentieth Century.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale