Lucio Fontana - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 16, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the previous owner

  • Exhibited

    Rome, Galleria del Triangolo, Ceramiche di Lucio Fontana, 1961; Milan, Galleria de Nieubourg, Presenza di Lucio Fontana, 1968

  • Literature

    Exhibition catalogue, Galleria del Triangolo, Ceramiche di Lucio Fontana, Rome, 1961, p. 9 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "We do not intend to abolish art or stop life: we want paintings to come out of their frames, and sculptures from under their glass case. An aerial, artistic portrayal of a minute will last for thousands of years in eternity. To this end, using modern techniques, we will make artificial forms, marvelous rainbows, luminous words appear in the sky. We will transmit new types of art on the radio and television. At first, locked in their towers, artists represented themselves and their amazement, and they looked out across the landscape from their windows. After they came down from their castles to the city, breaking down walls and mixing with other men, they saw trees and objects at close quarters. Today, we spatial artists have escaped from our cities, we have broken the casing, our physical bark, and we have looked at ourselves from above, photographing the Earth from missiles in flight."(L. Fontana taken from R. Miracco, ed., Lucio Fontana: At the Roots of Spatialism, Rome, 2006, p. 31)
    Made at a time when artistic innovations were considered as political actions, Fontana's 'creative and destructive style is often associated with the cultural politics of his time, enacting a strike for freedom from tradition, a blow against the authority of the past. This concept is clearly mirrored in the present lot, which not only becomes a surface upon which Fontana chooses to express his political views, but equally a surface upon which he visually distances himself from past painterly traditions, in search of a new aesthetic, encompassing the notion of a spatial context as its main objective. Fontana's cuts go beyond the political actions or previous imposed artistic and cultural tradition. His deliberate and elegantly executed penetrations create an artistic language of their own – they are slits that respond to the imagination and pictorially provide a framework for depth. They are signs, benchmarks that point to new dimensions, exploring a new found space that goes beyond the perforations – a space that through its creation infiltrates the surface and is vital to the work's symbolic power.
    The act of cutting, of penetrating in this instance the surface of a smooth, polished egg shaped object, is an act which seeks to visually explore the relationship between space, time and motion, which seeks to visually discover a perfect unity between existence, nature and matter. Lucio Fontana may be best known for his two dimensional works, the artist, however, placed his sculptural oeuvre on the same footing as his acclaimed cut paintings. Striking in both colour and form, the present lot, a free standing floor sculpture, is a significant work of Fontana's Concetto Spaziale series, in which the artist aimed at changing the configuration and spatial characteristics of modernist painting. Executed between 1958 and 1960 when Fontana was at the height of his powers exploring the ideals of his groundbreaking artistic manifesto, Concetto Spazialle is a striking, visceral and tactile object which conveys a powerful sense of immediacy.
    ‘With the slash I invented a formula that I don't think I can perfect. I managed with this formula to give the spectator an impression of spatial calm, of cosmic rigour, of serenity in infinity' (L. Fontana as quoted in E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, vol. I, Milan 2006, p. 105) 


Concetto Spaziale

Painted terracotta.
38 x 28.5 x 28.5 cm. (15 x 11 1/4 x 11 1/4 in).
Incised 'l. Fontana' on the reverse. This work is recorded in the Archivio Fontana, Milan under no. 376/20.

£250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for £241,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

17 Oct 2009