Fontana’s 1958 work, Io Sono un Santo, represents one of the artist’s very first Cut pieces. Unlike Concetto Spaziale, Attese, for example—also included in this exhibition—the slashes Fontana made on this paper mounted on canvas are noticeably shorter and less calculated. Almost staccato-like in their location and appearance on the paper, it is as if Fontana jabbed a knife directly into the surface and pulled it out immediately after puncturing it—as opposed to dragging it down after making contact in order to create a long gash instead. The two cuts closest to the left edge of the paper appear to be attempts at such an extended slash; however, they are far less clean and sleek than the slits Fontana would make in 1959 after perfecting his technique. Here, the artist’s hand leaves traces
of its movements and actions, making Fontana far less removed from the work than he is in Concetto Spaziale, Attese. In addition to the slashes, Fontana writes, “Io sono un santo” (I am a saint) in big, thick, and blue cursive letters that cover most of the paper and canvas plane. Between the “io” and “sono,” we can also detect a small interjected “non” (not) written in light, thin pencil. On the reverse, the artist adds an inscription that reads, “Io sono una carogna” (I am a lowlife). While it was uncommon of Fontana to explicitly use language in his work, this piece is an important representation of the artists ongoing questioning of the infinite along with his and, more broadly, humanity’s place within it. Furthermore, it underlines Fontana’s sense of irony.


  • Title: Io Sono un Santo
  • Creator: Lucio Fontana
  • Creator Lifespan: (1899 - 1968)
  • Creator Nationality: Argentine-Italian
  • Date Created: 1958
  • Physical Dimensions: h 50, w 65 cm
  • Rights: Courtesy of Fondazione Lucio Fontana
  • Medium: Cuts and ink on paper mounted on canvas

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