Lucio Fontana

Spatial Concept

1958

Original title
Concetto spaziale
Medium
Pastel and canvas on canvas
Dimensions
Unconfirmed: 1638 x 1206 mm
frame: 1915 x 1473 x 95 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Mr and Mrs Charles Damiano 1959
Reference
T00234

Display caption

Fontana is best known for his claim to have introduced elements of time and space into art by slashing the canvas with a razor blade. He also explored other styles and in these and in many statements and manifestos he published Fontana strove to originate new forms of art appropriate to the modern scientific age. Although not slashed this canvas is perforated in places. It is one of the last and largest of a series of 'gessi' or chalks, made between 1954 and 1958. Fontana has written that it 'was painted in an attempt to develop the means of art so as to achieve a contemporary expression'.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Lucio Fontana 1899-1968

T00234 Spatial Concept 1958

Inscribed 'l. fontana | "concetto spaziale" 1958' on back of canvas
Pastel on canvas, with canvas collage, 64 1/2 x 47 1/4 (164 x 120)
Presented by Mr and Mrs Charles Dainiano 1959
Prov: Mr and Mrs Charles Damiano, London (purchased from the artist)
Exh: XXIX Biennale, Venice, June-October 1958 (Fontana 41?); Paintings from the Damiano Collection, ICA, London, January 1959 (not in catalogue)
Lit: Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana (Brussels 1974), Vol.2, p.58, repr. as '58 GI'
Repr: Giampiero Giani, Lucio Fontana (Venice 1958), p.13 in colour; Evento, Nos.3-4, 1958, p.37 in colour

The artist wrote (9 March 1959): 'The picture was painted in an attempt to develop the means of art so as to achieve a contemporary expression ... Art is the creation of man, and is subject to the same evolution.' It is one of the last and largest of a series of so-called 'gessi' (chalks) executed between 1954 and 1958, with pastel on canvas and holes.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.221-2, reproduced p.221