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Nature is one of a series of works made by cutting a gash across a sphere of terracotta clay, which Fontana subsequently cast in bronze. He believed that the incision was a ‘vital sign’, signalling ‘a desire to make the inert material live’. Fontana was concerned with transformation, and the shifting, yet indestructible density of matter. The Nature series was partly inspired by thoughts of the ‘atrocious unnerving silence’ awaiting man in space, and the need to leave a ‘living sign’ of the artist’s presence.

December 2005