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While some of Fontana’s abundant Concetto Spaziale paintings assumed a variety of forms— from hexagonal to pentagonal—this work consists of a square monochrome canvas in a vibrant orange hue that features the artist’s signature slashes. First conceived in 1958, Fontana’s initial Cuts were small, either curved or diagonal penetrations of canvases. Over time, the artist developed a more controlled method of making his mark. Generally, after applying paint, Fontana would transport the wet canvas to his easel and use a Stanley knife to create his calculated slit. As soon as the paint dried, he would manually regulate the size of the opening with his own hands until satisfied. This process honored Fontana’s artistic foundation in sculpture while signaling his entrance into uncharted creative territory. While Fontana’s first Cuts certainly maintained evidence of his hand’s participation in the process, his later slashes, as in Concetto Spaziale, Attese, appear almost mechanical, devoid of any traces of the artist’s subjectivity, gesture, or expression. Like Bochner, Fontana attributes value to the void, which appears to have been created by the gash itself and can only be defined by the presence of the curling canvas that surrounds it. Fontana added several inscriptions to the back of his Concetto Spaziale works, including, in this case, attese—plural because of the multiple slashes that comprise the piece— which translates to “expectation” or “anticipation.” His decision to include this inscription indicates just how important he considered the process of creating the work, especially waiting for the perfect moment to make his taglio.

Details

  • Title: Concetto Spaziale, Attese
  • Creator: Lucio Fontana
  • Creator Lifespan: (1899 - 1968)
  • Creator Nationality: Argentine-Italian
  • Date Created: 1959
  • Physical Dimensions: h 90.8, w 90.8, d 1.9 cm
  • Rights: Courtesy Magazzino Italian Art Foundation
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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