Lucio Fontana - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Pierre, Stockholm

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘Painted canvas no longer makes sense… What is needed… is a change in both essence and form. It is necessary to go beyond the painting, sculpture and poetry… In the praise of this transformation in the nature of man, we abandon the use of known forms of art and move towards the development of an art upon the unity of space and time.’ (Lucio Fontana in M. Gooding, Abstract Art, London 2001, p. 88).

    Concetto Spaziale, Attese, executed in 1960 is an outstanding example of the Spazialismo (Spatialism) movement found by Lucio Fontana in 1947. The present lot is an image that has become synonymous with Fontana and twentieth century art. Considered the father-figure of the ZERO group (with members such as Yves Klein, Günther Uecker and Piero Manzoni ) Fontana embarked on a journey to reinvent what painting was. For Fontana, it meant starting from the beginning. Primarily, it was reinvestigating the formal qualities of painting - canvas, colour, scale, and dimensionality - to define a new vocabulary.

    For Fontana, the tagli (cut) is arguably a gesture ten years in the making. In 1948, Fontana signed the guestbook of Milanese designer Germana Marucelli, with a single vertical line the length of the page. A decade later, it returns on the surface of the canvas as a powerful gesture, central to the idea of Spatialism and minimalism of post-war Europe. The six slashes in the present canvas allow the artist to play with viewers gauge of negative space; in turn this creates a new depth to the work elevating the canvas from a two dimensional plain, to a three-dimensional interaction

    Just tagli became the central means to define new painting, polychromaticism was overcome through precise unification of a single colour. Like Yves Klein Blue or Piero Manzoni’s choice white, Fontana’s monochromatic canvases are also representative of the ZERO manifesto expressing the idea of all colours through the use of a single one. In the present lot, the a buzzingly vibrant red, though monochrome, is electrifyingly infinite across the surface of the canvas.

    The Concetto Spaziale, Attese also become of a record of Fontana’s life from anecdotes of the day scrawled on the reverse. Varied inscriptions from ‘I Beatles conquistano Milano’ (The Beatles Conquered Milan) to emotive ‘Oggi piove che tristezza’ (Today it rains, how sad) are an insight into Fontana’s mood upon completing each piece. The present lot is emphatically inscribed, ‘Sono stanco...’ (I’m tired…) – making us emotionally sensitive to the artist’s state of mind.

    By negating the fundamentals of what painting was and redefining the entire process by which art made, Fontana was able to distil the purest essence of painting into his Concetto Spaziale. The transformation that Fontana championed was to take the conventional, flat surface of the canvas and transform it into a new dimension.


Concetto Spaziale, Attese

waterpaint on canvas
46.5 x 55.5 cm (18 1/4 x 21 7/8 in.)
Signed and titled 'Lucio Fontana "Concetto Spaziale, Attese"'on the reverse. Further inscribed 'Sono stanco...' on the reverse. This work is accompanied by a letter from the Fondazione Lucio Fontana and registered under archive number 3309/04.

£1,200,000 - 1,800,000 

Sold for £1,314,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 14 October 2015 7pm