College students of artwork historical past could also be acquainted with Lucio Fontana, the Argentine-Italian conceptual painter, sculptor, and founding father of the Spatialism motion. Fontana gained worldwide acclaim within the mid-1950s along with his slash sequence, for which he lower into the canvas surfaces of monochrome work to impress a way of depth unachievable with paint alone. Although the canvases got here to dominate his outward canon, Fontana was, nonetheless, additionally exhibiting immersive artworks around the globe as early as 1949—almost twenty years earlier than artists James Turrell and Yayoi Kusama first developed their first atmospheric experiments within the late 1960s.
A recently-opened exhibition at Hauser & Wirth’s Los Angeles outpost recreated 9 of Fontana’s lesser-known Ambianti spaziali (Spatial Environments) throughout three of its primary galleries. Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Walking the Space: Spatial Environments, 1948-1968 is the primary comprehensive presentation within the U.S. of the late Italian grasp’s three-dimensional work that, within the phrases of the artist, search to ‘open up area, create a brand new dimension, tie within the cosmos, because it endlessly expands past the confining airplane of the image.’
Organized chronologically, guests start the exhibition by pulling aside heavy curtains to enter Ambiente spaziale a luce nera [Spatial Environment in Black Light] (1949), a pitch-black room illuminated solely by a couple of black lights pointed at a fluorescent papier-mâché sculpture hung from the ceiling by fishing wire. The piece remembers the sculptures of Frank Stella and Aaron Curry—however whereas these are sometimes affixed to the partitions or facilities of well-lit gallery areas, Ambiente spaziale a luce nera provides the phantasm of weightlessness, a attribute Fontana sought in art work as a nod to the Area Age through which he was training.
The installations following Ambiente spaziale turn out to be extra interactive, the fabric palettes more and more differ, and the spatial layouts of the work turns into more and more labyrinthine. A gallery attendant warns guests earlier than coming into Utopie [Utopia] (1964) that the carpeted undulating ground makes navigation troublesome, and they need to be ready to duck when the ground reaches three ft beneath the ceiling. The next installations problem—and, over time—heighten spatial consciousness by means of a sequence of tactile illusions set in movement by centered lighting and ambiguous preparations.
Ambiente spaziale in Documenta four, a Kassel [Spatial Environment at Documenta 4, in Kassel] (1968), the final set up Fontana created earlier than his demise later that 12 months, is, in contrast along with his earlier spatial works, an set up so vivid that it produces no shadows. Guests placed on booties to enter the all-white area separately and arrive at a refined but unmistakable laceration within the wall’s plaster, harking back to these present in Fontana’s well-known slashed canvases. It’s becoming that, on the exit level of his final set up, a slash emerges that appears to condense all the artist’s inventive power right into a single work. “After I sit earlier than and ponder one among my slashes,” Fontana as soon as wrote, “I all of the sudden really feel an incredible rest of the spirit, I really feel myself to be a person free of the slavery of matter, a person belonging to the vastness of the current and the longer term.”
Strolling the Area: Spatial Environments, 1948-1968 opened on February 13 and shall be on show by means of April 20. Hauser & Wirth will current two extra exhibitions on the work of Lucio Fontana within the close to future; one in New York in Spring 2021, and one other in Hong Kong within the fall of the identical 12 months.