Thence by descent to the present owner
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol II, Milan 2006, p. 733, no. 64-65 T 8, illustrated
Disclosing a space beyond the two dimensional picture plane guided Fontana’s artistic intent. Significantly, it was humankind’s exploration into space that would transform his practice: tangibility of the universe and scientific discovery of infinity was the catalyst for extending the scope of his sculptural/painterly experimentation. Reflective of a zeal for scientific advancement, Fontana’s departure from traditional illusionism transformed the canvas into a conduit and vehicle for an intimation of an inscrutable fourth dimension. Nonetheless, though Fontana pioneered a dialogue that echoed advances in technology and the contemporaneous progress of space exploration – an impetus attuned to the utopian tenets of Futurism – his practice also looked back towards the most traditional remit of Western art history, namely its grounding in the Catholic Church.
The chemistry between the red tableau and the six black slashes provokes a multitude of emotive suggestions that range from love and passion to violence and danger. Indeed, besides the lyricism of their formal appearance, these black arching cuts incised into red canvas flesh elicit a tenably visceral reading. Fontana’s is thus a wounded canvas that in turn represents a Modernist echo of the wounds of Christ on the cross. Significantly, much like the art of the past in its deliverance of the message of salvation, in Fontana’s work, it is only by enacting violence upon an unblemished surface and sacrificing the possibility of representational illusion that an intimation of an unknown realm can be attained. Marking a unique clash of the unequivocally traditional with the unequivocally progressive, the Concetto Spaziali collapse past, present and future within the slender abyss of each cut. Progenitor of the most radical gesture of the post-war era, Lucio Fontana transformed painting into an event horizon, a blinding conceptual and aesthetic point of no return.
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