13 February - 12 April 2020
Hauser&Wirth, Los Angeles.
Beginning 13 February, ‘Lucio Fontana. Walking the Space: Spatial Environments, 1948 – 1968’ will be the first comprehensive presentation in the US of the late Italian master’s groundbreaking ‘Ambienti spaziali’ (Spatial Environments). Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milan, this landmark exhibition will highlight Fontana’s critical contribution to the evolution of conceptual art and the confluence of art with science and technology as a means to explore aspects of human perceptual experience. Fontana, a visionary whose revolutionary practice continues to exert influence upon artists internationally, conceived his first environment in 1948, significantly predating and anticipating the immersive conceptual and spatial achievements of such defining figures as Piero Manzoni, Yayoi Kusama, and James Turrell.
Lucio Fontana, Ambiente Spaziale Con Neon [Spatial Environment with Neon Light], 1967. Installation view, ‘Lucio Fontana. Ambienti/Environments’, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2017 © Fondazione Lucio Fontana by SIAE 2020, Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan
Arranged chronologically and beginning with the artist’s first spatial work, the exhibition will feature nine of Fontana’s environments, dating from the years spanning 1948 to 1968. Due to the rigorous research conducted through the materials of Fondazione Lucio Fontana’s archives, a foundation dedicated to researching and documenting the artist’s career, the exhibition in LA presents meticulous reconstructions of the original Spatial Environments which were historically dismantled and destroyed at the close of exhibition. Together, these ephemeral works reveal the artist’s revolutionary approach to artmaking as a quest to ‘open up space, create a new dimension, tie in the cosmos, as it endlessly expands beyond the confining plane of the picture.’ The most radical, but least well-known area of his oeuvre, the Spatial Environments find Fontana moving beyond the conventions of painting by removing the canvas and using new technology, including neon, to ‘paint’ space with light, putting the viewer at the center of the composition.