Forcefully pierced with one single slash on the monochrome surface, the bright surface of Concetto Spaziale, Attesa from 1967 draws the viewer into a sensation of space. The viewer is confronted with infinity through the perfect balance of the tension in the canvas and void of the blackness beyond. Through his clean, crisp cut, he creates movement and space, letting the idea unfold that "sculpture and painting are both things of the past, we need a new form. Art that's movement. Art within space." (Lucio Fontana cited in Hedy. A. Giusti, 'But Nobody Mentions Milan Art'. Rome Daily American, 9 July 1954, in Anthony White, 'Lucio Fontana: Between Utopia and Kitsch', Grey Room, No. 5, Automn 2001, p. 56).
The artwork is representative of Fontana's most recognized series and dates back to the period of his finest work, when the artist was at the height of his international career. Just a year before creating Concetto Spaziale, Attesa, he filled an entire room with all white works from the the series Tagli at the Venice Biennale, stating that he found a way of "giving the spectator an impression of spatial calm, of cosmic rigour, of serenity in infinity" (Crispolti, p.38). Here, rather than the cool of that white room, Fontana has opted for a luminous, fluorescent colour that recalls the vibrant years of the sixties.
The artist worked on five different manifestos which paved the way for the genesis of Spazialismo (Spatialism), the art movement he founded as early as 1947. He first started exploring the concept with the first Manifesto Blanco (White Manifesto), in which he declared, "we don't care if a gesture, once performed, lives for a moment or a millennium, since we are truly convinced that once performed it is eternal."
This approach can be compared to the explorations of various other avant-garde artists of the mid-twentieth century who were also questioning the use of space and the performing act of creating an artwork. We may observe a similar approach in Yves Klein's bright monochromes or in Dan Flavin's luminous installations, which emphasize the use of natural elements such as light and air.
The Tagli are arguably considered to be some of the most sought-after and varied group of works ever created by Fontana, and it is no surprise that they are along the top ten auction records for the artist. Works such as Concetto Spaziale, Attesa, which are of exceptional quality, serve to underscore the historical importance of Lucio Fontana, highlighting his unique vision and placing him at the forefront of post-war history.
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