Concetto Spaziale, realised between 1961 and 1962, is a perfect example of the blending of Fontana’s roots, his early works in ceramics, and his later Spatialist oeuvre. The work can immediately be linked to his slashed and punctured cavases. Three large and violent holes puncture through the matte white painted terracotta interrupting the harmony of the monochromatic background. The linear incision that contours the rectangular form of the plane functions as a frame for this disruptive gesture, bringing the viewer to look deep into those ferociously made gashes leading into a whole new dimension. A dimension that Fontana himself sought in his paintings and in his Spatialist manifestos in which he expressed the need to synthesize colour, space, movement and time into a new type of art.
The emphasis on matter, movement and space, articulated through a sense of gestural handling, could have only been achieved through the violent and fast pace of the modelling and burning of clay. It is thanks to the characteristics of this material that Fontana was able to integrate his vision into the steadiness of sculptural elements, a result that would have not been achievable had he not broken away from his traditional training and bravely adventured into unknown artistic territory.
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