Fontana stated that the inspiration for the ‘Teatrini’ were “forms that man imagines in space” (the artist cited in: Pia Gottschaller, Lucio Fontana: The Artists Materials, Los Angeles 2012, p.114).
The artist usually pierced the holes with long nails after the stretcher and the canvas had been fastened in order to produce the delicate voids that are so integral to his explorations into pictorial space. Fontana explains, “the surface cannot be confined within the edges of the canvas, it extends into the surrounding space.” (The artist in conversation with Daniele Palaozzi in Bit, no.5, Milan 1967)
The monochrome backdrop echoes a calm cloudy sky or poignantly the expanse of the cosmos, which Fontana would often turn to in order to capture a spirituality which resonates throughout his oeuvre. The intricate lacquered frame seems to want to expand, and creates a feeling of spatiality and a three-dimensionality.
“In the Teatrini it is possible to achieve a sort of contemporary unity between image, object, material and that ‘philosophical’ state to which the artist often draws attention as the new idea. The man in space is alone, alone facing infinity.” (the artist quoted in: Exhibition Catalogue, Rome, Palazzo delle Espozioni, Lucio Fontana, 1998, p.245)
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