Concetto Spaziale, Attese, 1959
Aniline and pastel on canvas
31.5 x 39.4 in
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) first began puncturing the surface of his canvases in the late 1940s, in a radical gesture that challenged the entire history of Western art. Freeing painting from the confines of being a space for illusion, Fontana revealed the mysterious, unseen regions behind the canvas. Rejecting traditional forms of painting and sculpture, he created objects he termed Concetti spaziale, transforming his works of art into experiences of space and time. Recognizing the importance of his radical innovation, he continued to seek different ways of developing the hole as his signature gesture throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The first examples of Fontana’s new pictorial language took the shape of Bucchi, or holes, and it was not until a decade later, in 1958, that he began his signature knife-slashes, or Tagli. These experiments were completed in a wide range of sizes, colors, and shapes. Fontana’s greatest experimentation with the format of the Tagli paintings occurred in 1959, a year in which he varied the canvas background by drawing with pastel, painted varied tonalities and shapes onto his canvases, divided his paintings into colored sections, included dramatically striped backdrops, and varied the shapes of his canvases. This painting is one of only four pictures, all the same size, where the artist evocatively used pastel to create a lyrical, atmospheric backdrop for his dramatic slashes. A rhythmic sequence of ten evocative tagli are set against the shimmering silver canvas, their movement echoing the expressive drawing on the bottom register of the painting.
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) first began puncturing the surface of his canvases in the late 1940s, in a radical gesture that challenged the entire history of Western art. Freeing painting from the… more
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