[1899 - 1968]

Spatial Concept [1962]

  • oil on canvas 129.0×97.0cm

[Audio Guide]

The hole in the center of the painting looks like it has been forced open, revealing a dark blackness. “My discovery was the hole and that’s it. I am happy to go to the grave after such a discovery.” As these words suggest, Fontana is known for tearing multiple holes in and slashing at his canvases. Whether landscape, still life, or even abstract art, traditional painting gives the optical illusion that space is being opened up on a ground of canvas or wood. However, Fontana’s punctured and slashed canvas destroys this tacit understanding, creating an infinite space on the other side of the surface. Additionally, the pink color is reminiscent of flesh, and the raised pool of pigment is even suggestive of a violent wound inflicted on a body.

Spatial Concept N3 [1959-60]

  • bronze 63.5×63.5×64.5cm

A deep hole has been bored into this rounded bronze mass. Looking at it, we get the feeling that we are being drawn in, as if by a black hole. This is according to Fontana’s intentions, as he aims to produce works that exceed our understanding of three-dimensional space. With a total of 40 pieces made in the “N (Nature)” series, these clay masses were marked with holes and notches before being cast in bronze. We become aware of the artist’s action due to the uneven surface of the large, heavy mass made by casually rolling it into a ball, and by the large, deeply gouged hole. On the other hand, it appears as something unknowable that resembles the forms of ancient nature. In accordance with the title, we are made to feel the strangeness of spacetime.


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