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PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Lucio Fontana
CONCETTO SPAZIALE
JUMP TO LOT
44

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Lucio Fontana
CONCETTO SPAZIALE
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

Lucio Fontana
1899 - 1968
CONCETTO SPAZIALE
signed; signed, titled and dated 1965 on the reverse
oil on canvas
92 by 73 cm. 36 1/4 by 28 3/4 in.
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Provenance

Private Collection, Germany (acquired directly from the artist circa 1968)

Literature

Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogue Raisonné des Peintures, Sculptures et Environnements Spatiaux, Vol. II, Brussels 1974, p. 143, no. 65 O 4, illustrated

Enrico Crispolti, Fontana: Catalogo Generale, Vol. II, Milan 1986, p. 488, no. 65 O 4, illustrated

Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. II, Milan 2006, p. 680, no. 65 O 4, illustrated

Catalogue Note

With the intensity of its revolutionary impetus matched only by the sheer precision of its execution, Concetto Spaziale enacts Lucio Fontana’s shattering of the distinction between the art object and the space containing it. In terms of unparalleled economy, the present work encapsulates the principles of the Spazialismo movement, that there is no difference between the artwork and its environment, that, paradoxically, no true art object can occupy space; in an entity that condenses what was arguably the very invention of the medium of installation art – Fontana’s very own Spatial Environment (1949). Building on a rich tradition in Italian art that turned unprecedented critical scrutiny onto the relation between the artwork and its putative containing space, Concetto Spaziale recalls the words expressed in 1912 by Umberto Boccioni: “Let us open up the figure like a window and close within it the environment in which it lives” (Umberto Boccioni, ‘Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture’, in: Robert L. Herbert, Ed., Modern Artists on Art: Ten Unabridged Essays, New Jersey 1964, p. 54). This aesthetic aim is visible not just in Spazialismo, but in the movements of Futurism and Arte Povera; with noteworthy and non-trivial corollaries to the present work including Giovanni Anselmo’s Torsion (1968). Part of the Olii (Oils) series of 1957-1968, Concetto Spaziale sabotages its flat canvas plane with a perforation whose violence stands in stark juxtaposition to the delicacy of its pink chromatic value.

There is a clear distinction between Spazialismo and these other movements. To start, Fontana induced a material revolution in the forms used to create artworks; emphasising new technologies and media out of a fascination with the strange, postmodern explorations of early space travel. Believing these pursuits to place ordinary domestic experiences in an uncanny light – indeed, believing them to strip the ‘everyday’ object of any non-relational existence – Fontana also ensured that Spazialismo redefined the art object as not just irreducibly related to its surrounding context, but fundamentally constituted by it. It follows from these ideas that Fontana conceived of the viewer, too, as essential to works like Concetto Spaziale; a thesis whose powerful political consequences Fontana deliberately underplayed. Stressing more the mystery of this involvement, Fontana confered to Concetto Spaziale a cosmic aura. Confronted with the strange, lunar circle enclosing the gaping hole of the present work, we feel, as viewers, implicated in a beguiling, unknown narrative in which the dramas of the quotidian are rendered tiny and inconsequential.

If the radicalism of Fontana’s Spazialismo was in part attributable to his having lived through two world wars, the aesthetic is also an extension of his earliest artistic projects. Born to Italian parents in Rosario de Santa Fé and having trained as a commercial sculptor, Fontana’s early years were split between Argentina and Italy; a period during which he produced coruscating, polychromatic works displaying a compelling mutual dependency between surface and ambient light. In a fascinating foreshadowing of the movement that would give birth to the present work, Fontana revealed to an interviewer that his “coloured sculpture aims at breaking the sense of stasis with colour, giving the material a connection with space” (Lucio Fontana cited in: ‘El temperamento en el arte argentino: Lucio Fontana’, La Nacion, June 1943, online). Created eighteen years later, Concetto Spaziale gives full expression to Fontana’s nascent philosophical ruminations on space and utterly enshrines the artist’s wholly radical spatio-temporal body of mature works.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London