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  • Writer's pictureBeyond the Canvas

Lucio Fontana's quest for space

‘I do not want to make a painting, I want to open up space’ —L. Fontana

And this really is everything you need to know about Fontana's iconic works. Whether the canvas was punctured or slashed, Fontana's gesture revealed a space that wasn't there before. Or rather, it was, but we couldn't see it. By replacing brushes with blades and punches, Fontana crossed a visual and spiritual frontier, forever shifting the limits of perspective and becoming the undisputed master of spatial infinity. Fontana blurred the lines between painting and sculpting, unearthing a new gestural aesthetic.

What struck me about this video was the intensity of the intention, if you'll excuse the alliteration. Over the years, I have seen countless Concetti Spaziali, but this was my first time seeing the artist inflict wounds on the canvas. There is an undeniable sexual energy about the artist's proximity to the canvas (or is it just me?), a thoughtful, almost fastidious, engagement in the way he wields his tools violating the material in a breathless crescendo. As he stated in his White Manifesto from 1946, 'matter should be infiltrated by energy to achieve dimensional, dynamic forms of expression.' There is no doubt that Fontana succeeded in his quest to convert matter into energy and invade space beyond the physical limits posed by the picture plane. His work remains timeless, enigmatic and universal.

The video is part of the impeccably curated (by Emma Lavigne) Icônes exhibition at the jaw-dropping Punta della Dogana venue of the Pinault Collection in Venice. Runs to November 26th.

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