Concetto Spaziale – Attese (Spatial concept - expectations), 1962/63

Picture or object? This work is both – and more. Fontana was an avant-gardist and the driving force behind one of the first manifestos of European post-war art – a text written, aptly, in Argentina. The “White Manifesto” (1946) called for a rejection of traditional genres and materials, for a liberation of art from its spatial confines. Fontana thus contributed substantially to the expansion of the European neo-avant-garde’s conception of art.

“Concetto Spaziale – Attese” is a work of the “tagli” (cuts) group executed between 1958 and 1966. In this period, Fontana did not “paint” with a brush but with a knife. On the one hand an act of aggression and injury, the cuts nevertheless display a quality of elegance, equilibrium and pleasing proportions. The decisive motive for the attack with the knife is the opening of the surface to space. The work takes on object character. And instead of a merely illusionistic pictorial depth, the space behind and in front of the picture surface has become an element of this new artwork, which expands into reality.

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Oil on canvas, fourfold sliced, adhered from behind
92 × 73 cm
Inv. No. SG 1240

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