Lucio FontanaSpatial Concept 'Waiting' 1960

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Artwork details

Lucio Fontana (1899‑1968)
Spatial Concept 'Waiting'
Concetto spaziale 'Attesa'
Date 1960
Dimensionsunconfirmed: 930 x 730 mm frame: 1161 x 982 x 86 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1964


Spatial Concept, Waiting is one of a series of works Fontana made in Milan between 1958 and 1968. These works, which all consist of a canvas that has been cut either once or multiply, are collectively known as the Tagli ('cuts'). Considered together, they are Fontana's most extensive and varied group of works and they have come to be seen as emblematic of his gestural aesthetic.

Fontana first began puncturing the surface of paper or canvas in the late 1940s, blurring the distinction between two and three dimensionality. Recognising the importance of this innovation, he continued, through the 1950s and 1960s, to seek different ways of developing the hole as his signature gesture. The first Tagli were made in the late summer and early autumn of 1958. They comprised small, often diagonal incisions, composed in groups over unprimed canvases. During 1959 these tentative slits evolved into single, more decisive slashes, as in the present work. Each cut was made with a single gesture using a sharp blade, and the canvases were then backed with strong black gauze giving the appearance of a void behind. In 1968 Fontana told an interviewer that, 'my discovery was the hole and that's it. I am happy to go to the grave after such a discovery' (quoted in Whitfield, p.12)… (read more)

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