G. Laurini, Milan
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogue Raisonné des Peintures et Environments Spatiaux, Vol. II, Brussels 1974, p. 51, no. 57 BA 6, illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogo Generale, Vol. I, Milan 1986, p. 176, no. 57 BA 6, illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogo Generale di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. I, Milan 2006, p. 329, no. 57 BA 6, illustrated
In Concetto Spaziale the profound black surface is covered with rich impasto and an abundant application of shimmering lustrini that scintillate on the dark backdrop to establish a crater-like landscape replete with tempestuous dynamism. Capturing the artist's visceral touch in each gestural stroke, Concetto Spaziale evokes Fontana’s instinctive creative process. Its rhythmically applied areas of yellow and white paint beautifully recall the visceral expressions of Jackson Pollock and the contemporaneous calligraphic compositions of Pierre Soulages. Associated with Art Informel in 1952 by influential French critic Michel Tapié in his book Un art autre, Fontana was, like Soulages, concerned to express subjective psychic states through an aesthetic experience.
Yet the concern to use colour narratively equally harkens back to more historical, and uniquely Italian, precedents. Adopting a dynamically varied palette, Fontana emulates the atmospherically varied shades associated with Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro, establishing a dramatic relationship between the painting’s various components. The extremes of light and shadow employed by Caravaggio to suggest movement, space, and feeling appear simplified, distilled, and stripped down to their basic components with magnificent effect in the present work. Exposure to the Baroque had a deeply formative impact upon Fontana. The rich European roots of architecture and art in Buenos Aires allowed Fontana to experience the Baroque on a daily basis while he resided in Argentina during the war. Pia Gottschaller has noted that, upon leaving Argentina in 1947, the artist “had come to regard the Baroque as his native culture” (Pia Gottschaller, Lucio Fontana: The Artist’s Materials, Los Angeles 2012, p. 15). Fontana stipulated the need for a cultural and artistic revolution, a change that he believed was stirred by the Baroque: “A change is necessary both in essence and form. It is necessary to overturn and transform painting, sculpture and poetry. A form of art is now demanded which is based on the necessity of this new vision. The baroque has guided us in this direction, in all its as yet unsurpassed grandeur, where the plastic form is inseparable from the notion of time, the images appear to abandon the plane and continue into space the movements they suggest. This conception arose from man’s new idea of the existence of things; the physics of that period reveal for the first time the nature of dynamics. It is established that movement is an essential condition of matter as a beginning of the conception of the universe” (Lucio Fontana quoted in: Exhibition Catalogue, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Lucio Fontana: Venice / New York, 2006, p. 229).
With the Barocchi Fontana expresses, excavates, and celebrates the very foundations of his artistic ambitions. A testament to this deeply personal and impassioned process, the impastoed paint, dazzling lustrini and moving combinations of colour deployed by Concetto Spaziale position it among the finest of Fontana’s elegies to the Baroque.
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