Private Collection, Piacenza
Milan, Brerarte, 25 May 1987, Lot 106
Galleria Gianferrari, Milan
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1995-96
Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Lucio Fontana, April – June 1998, p. 202, no. 3/P/21, illustrated in colour
Milan, Palazzo Reale, Anni Cinquanta. La nascita della creatività italiana, March – July 2005, p. 432, illustrated in colour
Exh. Cat., Bolzano, Museion, Lucio Fontana. Arnulf Rainer. Über das Bild, Oltre la tela, March – May 1995, n.p., illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. I, Milan 2006, p. 328, no. 56 BA 37, illustrated
Executed in 1956, Concetto Spaziale Barocco is a sumptuous masterpiece by Lucio Fontana. Characterised by shimmering traces of white impasto against a rough, black background, this artwork superbly captures the richness of textures and techniques that exemplify Fontana’s acclaimed Barocchi, produced between 1954 and 1957. The constellation of holes and unique textural combination of thick oil, sand and glistening pieces of Murano glass, display the artist’s continuous search for new forms of abstraction and his abiding re-evaluation of the traditional principals of painting. The optical effect of this opulent, somewhat cosmic landscape manifests Fontana’s unique combination of the exuberant Baroque with the more modern space age.
With their luscious layers of impastoed paint and dazzling lustrini the Barocchi are visual elegies to the Baroque, whilst congruently embodying Fontana’s conceptual quest to disclose a space beyond the traditional two dimensional picture plane. By adding broken pieces of solid glass to the paint surface Fontana introduced sculptural projections into the space in front of the canvas. These irregularly scattered glass stones act as counterparts to the recessions of the lineally scattered buchi; these voids contrast against the boldly protruding swathes of impasto and facetted stones, creating a landscape of diametrically opposed forces. In fact, as pointed out by Enrico Crispolti, this unique textural landscape is an “iconic definition of the artificial dynamism that in Fontana’s imagination runs through the material” (Enrico Crispolti, Ed., Fontana, Milan 1999, p. 35). Herein, Lucio Fontana’s Barocchi are visual manifestation of the artist’s belief that movement and dynamism are essential principles for “understanding the universe” (Ibid., p. 36).
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 and had a deeply formative impact. 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 cited in: Exh. Cat., New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Lucio Fontana: Venice / New York, 2006, p. 229).
A beautiful summation of Fontana’s primary artistic concerns, Concetto Spaziale, Barocco encapsulates the bold opulence of the Baroque through glistening swirls of vigorous impasto, whilst the obsidian blackness of its punctured surface stands as an exemplary paradigm of Fontana’s quest for "the infinite, the inconceivable chaos and the end of figuration” (Lucio Fontana cited in: Exh. Cat., London, Hayward Gallery, Lucio Fontana, 1999, p. 198).
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