Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of Lucio Fontana (1899-1968). There will be twelve paintings in the show, mainly work from the early sixties – examples from his "buchi" (holes) series; his "tagli" (cuts) and two paintings in metal (one in copper; one in brass). Also exhibited will be a rare picture from 1952, an oil painting with Murano glass "pietre" (stones) added to the surface. The artist's groundbreaking exploration of the physicality of materials along with his evocation of the infinity of (pictorial and sculptural) space will be expressed in our selection of major works. Several key works were recently included in the artist's full-scale retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London.
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies Sperone Westwater's exhibition with a text by the artist Richard Tuttle and a reprint of Fontana's last interview given in 1968 to the Italian critic Tommaso Trini. This will be the second exhibition of Lucio Fontana at Sperone Westwater, following its February 1999 presentation, "Gold. Gothic Masters and Lucio Fontana" for which there was also a comprehensive publication.
'From the outset I never called the work I was doing in 1946 painting, I called it a "spatial concept". This is because for me painting is a matter of ideas. The canvas served and still serves for the documentation of an idea. The things I am doing at the moment are just variations on my two fundamental ideas: the hole and the cut. At a time when people were talking about "planes" – the surface plane, the depth plane etc – making a hole was a radical gesture which broke the space on the canvas as if to say: after this we are free to do what we like. The surface cannot be confined within the edges of the canvas, it extends into the surrounding space. In this way, in these ways, - well, I don't know, because I could not survive until the year two thousand; the important thing is that we have born witness to these demands.' Interview by Daniele Palazzoli, Bit, no.5, Milan, Oct – Nov 1967.