LUCIO FONTANA | Concetto spaziale



Concetto Spaziale
oil and graphite on canvas
27¾ by 25½ in. 70.5 by 64.8 in.
Executed in 1962.

Price Available Upon Request

Collection of Marcello Rumma, Salerno
Collection of Luigi Mazzella, Rome
Private Collection (acquired from the above)
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogue raisonné des peintures, sculptures et environments spatiaux, Vol. II, Brussels, 1974, pp. 116-117, illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Generale, Vol. I, Milan, 1986, p. 394, illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. II, Milan, 2006, n. 62 O 17, p. 578, illustrated

“I make a hole in a canvas in order to leave behind the old pictorial formulae, the painting and the traditional view of art and I escape, symbolically, but also materially, from the prison of the flat surface.” - Lucio Fontana

Pierced, incised, and swathed in glorious, luscious black, Concetto Spaziale is a prime example of Lucio Fontana’s pioneering approach to painting: a consistent investigation of an evolving conceptual project the artist referred to as Spazialismo. The present work belongs to the artist’s celebrated body of Olii, or oils, which he first experimented with in 1957. By the 1960s, the Olii had come to dominate Fontana’s practice, and he remained dedicated to them until his death in 1968. Characterized by one or more holes, gouged violently out of the depths of his colored, oil-encrusted canvases, Fontana’s Olii represented the antithesis of his Tagli series: where the Tagli, with their sleek, crisp cuts and minimalist, monochrome surfaces, were devoid of any trace of the artist’s hand, the Olii were thickly painted, substantial in hue, and charged with a raw and primal intensity.

To create the Olii, Fontana punctured the surface of his paintings using a sharp tool whilst the paint was still wet. He would then claw at the canvas with his fingers, instilling the works with texture and weight, before scraping, scoring and modelling more paint onto the canvas to form projecting mounds of sculptural impasto that erupt from the holes with visceral force. Having initially trained as a sculptor, Fontana never lost the sculptural and spatial impetus that drove his deeply conceptual painterly practice. Nowhere is this better materialized than in the Olii: in Concetto Spaziale, the viewer is presented with a triumphant union of the solid and the void, the tactile and the abstract. Here, the sheer energy of Fontana’s process harnesses an enigmatic combination of compulsion and serenity, beauty and force.

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