Lucio Fontana

(1899 – 1968)

Argentina

Biography

 

Lucio Fontana was an Argentinean-born Italian artist. Between 1924 and 1930, Fontana first delved into art by setting up a sculpture studio in Buenos Aires and later enrolled at the Academia di Brera in Milan as a pupil to Adolfo Wildt. As a reaction to the “Novecento” style professed by his mentor, Fontana adopted an essentially abstract style, hence his founding of the Academia Altamira in Argentina in 1946 alongside Jorge Romero Brest and Jorge Larco, as well as his writing of the Manifesto Blanco. This manifesto is the first of a series of five in which he professes the basic concepts of Spatialism. For Fontana, this style means embracing a completely abstract language while incorporating new technologies and new dimensions (such as time and space).

 

Spatialism was the catalyst of perhaps one of his most influential pieces: Spatial Environment (1949), an ephemeral and fragile structure lit by neon lights. Fontana would continue to pursue his interest in space and environment by designing exhibition pavilions in collaboration with Luciano Baldessari. Beginning in 1949, Fontana began the series he is best known for: the Buchi and Tagli series, which synthesize the concepts of Spatialism by creating holes and slashes within the painted canvas itself.

 

Fontana received many distinctions and had many solo shows during his lifetime, including the Grand Prize for painting in the 1966 Venice Biennale.

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