Sofie Bexhed talks about Lucio Fontana

This Autumn's Modern Art & Design auction offers a fantastic work by one of the world's most eminent artist, Lucio Fontana. Hear Art Specialist Sofie Bexhed talk about the Concetto Spaziale - Attese.

Sofie Bexhed framför Lucio Fontanas "Concetto Spaziale - Attese".

Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale - Attese

Production 2017: Nordisk Drama & Dokumentär AB

You can also see it here


The three sweeping slashes incise the spectacular canvas of Lucio ­Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale – Attese, 1960. The vibrant yellow colour in this ­impressive artwork shines and reflects the brightness of its master. One of the most ­important and appreciated artists of our times.

My cuts are above all a philosophical statement, an act of faith in the infinite, an affirmation of ­spirituality. When I sit down to contemplate one of my cuts, I sense all at once an enlargement of the spirit, I feel like a man freed from the shackles of matter, man at once with the immensity of the present and of the future. (Lucio Fontana quoted in the exhibition catalogue, Guggenheim Museum, New York 2006, page 23.)

Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) re-defined and revolutionised art and counts as one of the most influential post-war artists that had a widespread impact on the following generation of artists. He was born in Argentina and spent his career traveling between his native country and Italy. In 1946 his first manifest, the Manifesto Blanco was published. In this Fontana presented his ideas for creating a new medium, another dimension, that would blend architecture, painting and sculpture. This was the foundation of the Spazialismo (spatialism) and his aim was to break through the two-dimensionality of the traditional picture plane. 

Times were changing: science, technology, quantum physics and space travel. ­Monumental leaps that awoke and intrigued Fontana’s curiosity to create an art that would reflect the spirit of the time. He transcended the surface of the canvas to reveal a dark space beyond. A quite simple gesture in which the viewer was invited to be embedded in the darkness of the infinity beyond the picture plane. Through this he opened up, both literally and figuratively, a new ­dimension: ”I don’t want to make a painting; I want to open up space, create a new ­dimension, tie in the cosmos, as it endlessly expands beyond the confining plane of the picture”.

In the late 1958 Fontana embarked on the tagli (cuts). This followed his buchi (hole) series in which he punctuated the canvas with small stabs. In the tagli works he sliced through the ­monochrome surface with the most profound concentration and precision. He gradually developed his process and technique, lengthening the cuts and reduced their number on the canvas. Through the combination of the dramatic execution and the minimal elegance of the monochromatic surface, he managed to create something never seen before. And not to forget – the telleta – the black strips of gauze on the backside of the canvas that are of equal importance as the cuts themselves since they represent the new dimension, the unknown and unexplored in which the past, present and future meets what we yet don’t know. Because of this the tagli defines the quintessence of Lucio Fontana’s career.

When creating the present work, Lucio Fontana perfectly mastered his technique. The spectacular painting impresses with its exceptional size and has ever since it was acquired at the Marlborough Gallery in 1964 been in the collection of the same family. Glowing against the rich yellow monochrome field are the three incisions that all vary in length and angle but rythmically follows one another like in a ballet of perfect harmony. This is a star that shines and almost blinds its viewer. Quite simply – a brilliant and unquestionable ­masterpiece.

Estimate SEK 10.000.000-15.000.000

For further information, please contact Art Specialist Sofie Bexhed • +46 8 453 67 54

Modern Art & Design
Viewing in Stockholm 2-8 November
Auction 9-10 November

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