Holes, Stones, Cuts

The "Spatial Concepts" series by Lucio Fontana

Room 9 - Lucio Fontana (Study of Antonio Boschi) (2019)Boschi Di Stefano House Museum

Lucio Fontana's room displays many of the masterpieces purchased over the years by collectors Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano.

Almost all of them are called "Concetto spaziale" ("Spatial Concept"), but in reality behind this unique name there are several series that represent a decade of work, that of the fifties.

Room 9 - Lucio Fontana (Study of Antonio Boschi) (2019)Boschi Di Stefano House Museum

With other artists in 1947 Lucio Fontana wrotes the "First Manifesto of Spatialism", where he said: "It is impossible that the man from the canvas (…) does not pass to the pure aerial, universal and suspended image".

Spatial Concept (1951) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

I Buchi – Holes (1949-68)

In the cycle called “Buchi” (“Holes”) paintings
features constellations of "holes" made on the surface of the canvas using an awl.

The first examples present vortexes of holes, from 1950 onwards replaced with more regular rhythmic sequences, also called arabesques.

The painting from the "Buchi" series owned by Casa Boschi Di Stefano can be dated to 1951.

It was exhibited at the 1954 Venice Biennale and purchased by the Boschi spouses directly by the artist - like all his works in this collection.

The "Holes" are not graphic elements, but originate from the "spatial" research of Lucio Fontana.

It is an experiment: the attempt to convey the sensation of a further space through a rhythmic sequence and to give the viewer a suggestion with which they can freely imagine the figurative theme.

Spatial Concept (1956) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

Le Pietre – Stones (1952-56)

Lucio Fontana called “Pietre” (“Stones”) the fragments of coloured glass that he applied to the canvases of the homonymous serie.

In the House Museum we also preserve some of this fragments that Lucio Fontana gave to collectors, Antonio and Marieda.

Spatial Concept (The Stream) (1955) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

The surface of the “Stones” series was usually covered with coloured oil and full of holes.
The stones pasted on the perforated surface create a new spatial dimension: jutting out they contrast with the hollows created by the holes.

Spatial Concept (1955) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

The black 1955 "Spatial Concept" is linked to the decoration for the facade of a church. According to Antonio Boschi, the stones on the left represent an angel, those on the right an obelisk.

Spatial Concept (The Stream) (1955) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

The white 1956 "Spatial Concept" is instead also called "The Stream", maybe on indication of the same artist.
These works open up new imaginary paths.

Room 9 - Lucio Fontana (Study of Antonio Boschi) (2019)Boschi Di Stefano House Museum

Antonio Boschi was not only a collector of Lucio Fontana but also his great friend. They often met on Saturday evenings, in the living room on Via Jan.

One of his favorite paintings was a "Spatial Concept" by Lucio Fontana from the "Pietre" series. To see it you have to look up at the wall.

Spatial Concept (c. 1956) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

Dominant white is accompanied by a dense matter, similar to that of the "Baroque" series, lit by blue and red stones. A series of holes completes the design.

Lucio Fontana was a sculptor who sculpted on canvas. On the back of the painting there is also a wire of lights, which when lit would have illuminated the holes, making the painting even more similar to a space nebula.

Boschi Di Stefano Home: Entrance (1982) by Gabriele BasilicoBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

We see the great white "Spatial Concept" hanging on the wall in a 1982 shot of the entrance.

Room 9 - Lucio Fontana (Study of Antonio Boschi) (2019)Boschi Di Stefano House Museum

I Tagli - Cuts (1958-1968)

The "Cuts" are perhaps the most famous works of Lucio Fontana, characterized by one or more clean cuts, made with the intention of going beyond the surface of the canvas itself.

View of "Spatial Concept (Waitings)" by Lucio Fontana (1959) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

Fontana's concentration was entirely turned in gesture: a solitary ceremony.

In this series the title “Concetto spaziale” ("Spatial Concept") is followed by a subtitle, “Attesa” o “Attese” ("Waiting" or "Waitings"), depending on the number of cuts made.

Boschi Di Stefano Home: Entrance (1982) by Gabriele BasilicoBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

The first paintings in this series have the surface almost always covered with aniline, then replaced by water-based paint, better if monochrome.
Initially arranged in tight sequences, the "Cuts" they then tend to be reduced to a few or only one.

Spatial Concept (Waitings) (1959) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

Fontana's work also concerns the back of the painting: a black gauze is applied to block the light. Nothing is left to chance.

Spatial Concept (Waitings) (1959) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

It is the overcoming of Renaissance perspective and illusion: Fontana's space is real, three-dimensional. True shadows, true infinite space that opens beyond the slash.

The words written in 1946 by Lucio Fontana and other abstract artists in "Il manifiesto blanco" sound prophetic:

"A change in essence and form is required. It requires the overcoming of painting, sculpture, poetry and music. A greater art is needed in accordance with the needs of the new spirit".

Spatial Concept (Waitings) (1959) by Lucio FontanaBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

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