- 146 x 114.2公分；57 1/2 x 45英寸
Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner, Bremen
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1987
London, Tate Gallery, Painting & Sculpture of a Decade: 54-64, April - June 1964, p. 83, no. 43, illustrated
Bremen, Graphisches Kabinett Wolfgang Werner KG, Uli Pohl, Akrylglasplastiken 1956-1987 und Werke von Fontana, Graubner, May - June 1987
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogue Raisonné des Peintures et Environments Spatiaux, Vol. II, Brussels 1974, p. 121, no. 62 O 63, illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Fontana: Catalogo Generale, Vol. I, Milan 1986, p. 403, no. 62 O 63, illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. II, Milan 2006, p. 589, no. 62 O 63, illustrated
The present work belongs to Fontana’s Olii series, and encompasses the consistent investigation of his evolving conceptual project, known as Spatialism. At the root of this spatial imperative, there is continuity with the previous generation of Italian Futurists such as Balla and Prampolini, in striving “to achieve a futurist reconstruction of the universe” (Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. I, Milan 2006, p. 19). Through this series, Fontana ventured beyond the perforation of the canvas, combining the violent holes of his buchi (holes) with the forceful cuts of the tagli (cuts) to ignite a progression that culminated in the extraordinary body of work, La Fine di Dio; a series comprising a total of thirty-eight colossal human-scaled egg-shaped canvases executed between 1963 and 1964. The thickly impastoed oil paint apertures contained within the delicately incised curved line of Concetto Spaziale, pre-empts the ovular forms of the landmark Fine di Dio. Furthermore, the cruciform pattern of the squarci here hints at the allusions Fontana was making to the greater history of Western art, namely its Christian legacy and the Baroque – a longstanding concern redolent within Fontana’s earlier works in ceramic, such as Crocifisso of 1947.
Apropos of the Olii Fontana declared: “The thin line… is man’s progress through space, his dismay and fear of being lost; and then the tear is a sudden shriek of pain, the final gesture of the anguish that has by this time become unbearable” (Lucio Fontana cited in: Grazia Livi, ‘Incontro con Lucio Fontana’, Vanita, No. 13, Autumn 1962, p. 55). By modelling, scoring, and scraping medium across the canvas, the heavily worked paint ruptures the threshold between painting and sculpture. In comparison to his earlier works, Fontana’s Olii paintings bring back this aspect of figuration: the visceral cuts and projections of the thickly applied paint invoke the sensual, carnal, and painful emotions of man’s existential condition. Indeed, in describing his transition between the Olii and the Tagli Fontana explained: “The cuts that I have made so far represent above all a philosophical space. But that which I am seeking, now, is no longer philosophical space but rather physical space… It is a human dimension that can generate physiological pain, a terror in the mind, and I, in my most recent canvases, am trying to give form to this sensation” (Ibid., p. 52).
Fontana was deeply influenced by the development of cosmic discoveries. Just as Yuri Gagarin broke through the atmosphere to reveal the infinite void of the cosmos, Fontana sliced open his canvas to reveal the void behind it. The Concetto Spaziale initiated a new way to conceive of cosmic space in visual terms. As outlined by Fontana: “My art is based on purity, on this philosophy of nothing, which is not a destructive nothing but a creative nothing… And the slashes and the holes, my first holes were not the destruction of painting… it was a dimension beyond the painting… the freedom to conceive art through any means, through any forms” (Lucio Fontana cited in: Exh. Cat., Rome, Palazzo delle Espsizioni, Lucio Fontana, 1998, p. 246). In Fontana’s oeuvre therefore, the 1960s Olii articulate the genesis of a new form of artistic expression and offer a reflection on the astral age. These paintings leave behind the earthly and herald a new step for mankind that, although threatening in its nihilistic portent, is nonetheless optimistic.