Rosario Santa Fe, 1899 – Varese, 1968
Lucio Fontana spent the first years of his life between Rosario di Santa Fe and Milan, where his parents came from. He then settled in Europe in 1927.
During the 1930s, he began his artistic career as a sculptor and created works essentially made of terracotta and ceramic. Fontana quickly took part in important exhibitions, such as the Milan Triennale, the Venice Biennale and the Rome Quadrennial. His works were also exhibited outside Italian borders: in 1937 the artist worked in Sèvres and presented his ceramics during a solo exhibition at the Jeanne Bucher-Myrbor gallery in Paris.
In 1940, he fled the war in Europe and returned to Argentina where, in 1946, he laid out the principles of his artistic practice with the very first Manifiesto Blanco, a statement of Neo-Futurist poetry. He wanted to create art in keeping with its time that would embrace science and technology, and uncover a new dimension in the flat surface: the space beyond the canvas. By slashing his paintings – one of the most primitive gestures in art history – Fontana liberated the artist from the confines of the flat canvas surface and set the principles of the movement he co-founded: Spatialism.
The works Fontana created subsequently are invariably entitled “Concetto spaziale” (or “Spatial concept”). Having returned to Milan in 1947, he delved further into his Spatialist research, punching holes (buchi in Italian) into canvases, as an embodiment of space and a reminder of its infinite potential. In the following 1950s he created a series of works increasingly representative of informal thought: Fontana opens a path towards a search for infinity, space and spirituality with the series of the Stones, the Baroque and the chalks. In the early 1960s, Fontana fully embraced the monochrome, looking for purity and regularity in his work in order to overcome the chaos of Informal Art.
After the famous gallery owner Iris Clert dedicated two solo exhibitions to him in 1961 and in 1964, Fontana then became a prominent artistic figure: in 1966 he won the First Prize for painting at the 33rd edition of the Biennale of Venice while the MoMA in New York held a retrospective of his work.
He died in 1968, but posthumous exhibitions continued to follow: the Center Georges Pompidou held a remarkable retrospective in 1987 and the artist’s work was also present at the exhibition The Italian Metamorphosis at the Guggenheim in New York in 1994. Fontana remains to this day of the most famous and sought after Italian artists in the world; his work can be found in all the collections of the greatest museums such as the Pompidou Center, the Tate in London, the MoMA in New York.
© Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milano
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art Paris. Text by Ilaria Bignotti. B/w and colored illustrations, 63 pages, 9,6×6,8 in, French/English, 2020.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art Paris. Texts by Charles Zana and Flavia Frigeri. B/w and colored illustrations, 72 pages, 6,6×9,6 in, English, 2019.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art London and Flavia Frigeri. Texts by Flavia Frigeri and Ursula Casamonti. B/w and colored illustrations, 92 pages, 11×8,2 in, English, 2018.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art London. Texts by Enrico Crispolti, Luca Massimo Barbero e Edward Lucie-Smith. B/w and colored illustrations, 272 pages, 9,4×11,8 in, Italian/English and French/English, 2015.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art and Enrico Crispolti, published on the occasion of Art Basel 2017. B/w and colored illustrations, 336 pages, 9,4×11,8 in, Italian/English, 2017.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Arte. Text by Sergio Risaliti. B/w and colored illustrations, 240 pages, 9,4×11,8 in, Italian/English, 2015.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art Paris and Dominique Stella. B/w and colored illustrations, 184 pages, 9,4×11,8 in, French/English and Italian/English, 2013.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art Paris and Enrico Crispolti. B/w and colored illustrations, 206 pages, 9,8×12,2 in, French/English/Italian, 2009.
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Arte. B/w and colored illustrations, 149 pages, 8,6×8,2 in, Italian, 1996.