Private Collection, Milan
Tornabuoni Arte, Florence
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Fontana has conflated the absolutes of wealth and creation - gold and egg- to produce an epic and singularly iconic artistic vision, seared with lyrical concatenations of buchi ('holes') which act as windows of epiphany through the delicate deposits of metallic shards into the 'infinite space of the void' beyond. Thus the egg, as the ultimate referent for life, and gold, as the potent signifier for prosperity, are together pierced and gashed by visceral ruptures that tear at the solidity of these fundamental concerns of humanity. As the universal visual symbol of birth and creation, the egg clearly has a longstanding history as a potent symbol in the iconographical lexicon of art history. For millennia it has acted as a sign of fertility and hope, representing the cycle of regeneration and new life.
However, Concetto Spaziale does not fully depict the egg, but rather enlists this beautifully simple shape to provide the silhouette that floats upon a metallic shimmering field of gold. Key to the sensory intoxication provoked by Concetto Spaziale is its metallic appearance and the radiant luminosity of its deep gold colour. The myriad of punctures that adorn the surface of Concetto Spaziale invite associations with the force of solar energy, a motif that Fontana frequently used, and the heliocentric interests and admiration of gold: Fontana inscribed a painting from 1964 with the message l'Oro è bello come il Sole! – “Gold is as beautiful as the sun!” Traditionally the most opulent and precious of metals, and believed across cultures to symbolise the powers of the sun, Fontana was utterly captivated by this material’s potential.
In breaking the barrier between the flat plane of the canvas and the space beyond, Fontana pushed past the limitations of conventional painting, forging a totally novel form of art that hovered thrillingly on the cusp of sculpture in its tactility. The result is a work of commanding authority and dramatic tension that exerts a powerful impact on the viewer.
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