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Spatial Concept: Waiting
  • Artist Lucio Fontana (Italian, 1899 - 1968)
  • TitleSpatial Concept: Waiting
  • Dating ca 1958 - 1966
  • Technique/MaterialSynthetic resin paint on canvas
  • Dimensions100 x 81 cm
  • AcquisitionGift of the Association of Friends of the Gothenburg Museum of Art, 1966
  • CategoryPainting
  • Inventory NumberGKM 1765
  • Rights and ReproductionLucio Fontana/BUS 2012©
  • Display StatusNot shown in the museum
Signatures etc.
Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) was a central figure in Italian post-war art. His slashed canvases are perhaps the most famous, and it is with one of his Spatial Concept series that Fontana is represented in the Gothenburg Museum of Art. Fontana was also a key inspiration for the whole generation of artists and designers who appeared in Milan and Turin in the 1960s, and who distanced themselves from the expressive gesture in order to explore materials and spatiality. Fontana drew on Concretism and Dadaism’s transnational concept of art, but adopted his own approach to the exploration of objects, materials, space, and perception. His work is often very physical, and involves the viewer’s body in the experience.

Fontana was born in Argentina, but studied sculpture in Milan. During the war he returned to Argentina, where he started an art school. Having returned to Milan in 1947, Fontana launched Spatialism, an exploration of the spatial ramifications of painting and sculpture. He executed his first perforated canvases in 1949 and gave them the generic series title of Spatial Concept.

Painting has the remarkable property of being both a concrete object and an image. The painting exists as a physical object, but at the same time refers to something beyond itself. To do so, it has to conceal its properties as an object. The painting becomes a window onto a fictitious place. Fontana set out to sabotage this tacit understanding. His act of slicing through the canvas destroys the illusion by stressing the painting’s existence as a sculptural object. At the same time, the slits offer a glimpse of the dark space behind the painting—something that can be interpreted in a physical as well as a metaphysical sense.

Kristoffer Arvidsson from The Collection Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg 2014