[May 9 2014]
For the first time in France since 1987 the Musée d’Art Moderne presents a major retrospective of the influential Italian painter, sculptor and theorist Lucio Fontana. The exhibition, presented in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, brilliantly displays Fontana’s extraordinary body of work from 1899 to 1968, including pivotal categories such as primitive and abstract sculptures, drawings, polychrome ceramics, Spatialist works, punctured canvases, Art Informel works, installations, Tagli (cuts), Nature, Fine di Dio, Olii, Venezie, Metalli, and Teatrini. On show are his extensive group of ceramics in which figures or objects are suggested in a fragmented and violently disturbed way. The aggression and raw form of the ceramics are some of his most exploratory and fundamental since they expose the nature of his later cycles: Buchi (holes) and Tagli (cuts).
Laid out are foundations of the Italian Spatialism movement which Fontana founded and extensively defined and explained in his five manifestos from 1947 to 1952. Originating from the Manifesto blanco Fontana announced his goals for a Spatialist art, one that could engage technology to achieve an expression of the fourth dimension. His Spatialist art prefigured later international developments such as environmental art, performance art, land art and Arte Povera. His Concetti spaziali (Spatial Concepts) works, first created in 1949, are an important example of Fontana’s radical use of Buchi (Holes). Named because of the use of innovative punctures, Fontana forced the viewer to become aware of the three-dimensionality of the picture surface, a confrontation that no artist in Western art had done at that time. Some of his groundbreaking environments such as his Ambienti Spaziali, have been reconstructed, providing a new perspective to his practice. This huge retrospective manages to effectively provide an overall view of his unconventional path and progressive style, exposing the violent, disruptive, elegant, sensual and visionary body of work that Fontana worked so vigorously on for over 50 years. Lucio Fontana Rétrospective 1899-1968 is on view until August 24th at the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris. Photo Annabel Fernandes