Lot 31
  • 31

Lucio Fontana

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 GBP
2,322,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Lucio Fontana
  • Concetto Spaziale, Attese
  • signed, titled and inscribed 1+1-YY3 on the reverse
  • waterpaint on canvas


Roberto Crippa, Monza

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1965-68

Catalogue Note

The impressively monumental Concetto Spaziale, Attese, exudes a spectacular rhythmic interplay between the pure white tableaux and the five cascading slashes that evince Lucio Fontana’s timeless expression. Fontana radically advanced the course of art history in his most celebrated and iconographic series, tagli (cuts), which dramatically dismantles the known and accepted boundaries of representation. As outlined by the artist: “with the slash I invited a formula that I don’t think I can perfect. I managed with this formula to give the spectator an impression of spatial calm, of cosmic rigour, of serenity in infinity” (Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni,Vol I, Milan 2006, p. 105).

The Italo-Argentinian artist sought to create a space beyond the boundaries of painting and sculpture, forming an overwhelming visual experience of spectacular clarity that borders on the sublime. Fontana’s artistic pursuit was consolidated in his major exhibition at the Venice Biennale, XXXIII for which he was awarded the first prize for his commitment to Spatialistm through which he explored conceptual depths and delved beyond the two dimensional field. Two years later in 1968, his immersive white plaster slash formed a labyrinth at Documenta IV in Kassel, engaging his audience in the act of searching and discovering a truth beyond the painted surface.

Concetto Spaziale, Attese, harmonises the purest tenets outlined in Fontana’s artistic theory which was articulated in ‘Manifesto Blanco’, published in 1946, and conveys the founding conceptualisation of tagli (cuts) and the preceding series buchi (holes). By 1961 Fontana sharpened his gestural punctures and piercing of the buchi works, elaborately defining his expression into a schema of elegantly choreographed tagli, which dominated the artist’s oeuvre thereafter. 

Within the present work, a harmonious angling of cuts dynamically forces the pictorial space to pulsate through a sequence of consecutive openings that in turn dramatically allow an abyssal blackness to violate the unadulterated white surface. Fontana’s painterly piercing of the pristine white canvas, through the use of a Stanley knife, reinvents the two dimensional canvas surface as a malleable medium. The edges of each incision curl inwards leading the viewer's gaze toward the darkly illusory space beyond accepted painterly parameters. The immediacy of Fontana's gesture is captured in the canvas, suspended in time and imbued with the incommensurability of space as endless and infinite. The deep gashes of the tagli works, present a visual amalgamation of Fontana’s search for “the infinite, the inconceivable, chaos, the end of figuration, nothingness” (Lucio Fontana quoted in: Exhibition Catalogue, London, Hayward Gallery, Lucio Fontana, 1999-2000, p. 198).