Tornabuoni Arte opens its new venue in Rome with a retrospective dedicated to Lucio Fontana

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Tornabuoni Arte opens its new venue in Rome with a retrospective dedicated to Lucio Fontana
Installation view.

ROME.- Tornabuoni Arte, founded in Florence in 1981 by Roberto Casamonti, opened a new venue in Rome in via Bocca di Leone.

After the gallery’s venues in Florence (1981), Crans-Montana (1993), Milan (1995), Forte dei Marmi (2004), Tornabuoni Arte - Arte Antica (2006-2022), and Paris (2009), Tornabuoni Arte is opening a new location between Piazza di Spagna and Via Condotti.

In keeping with Tornabuoni Arte’s tradition, the inaugural exhibition is dedicated to Lucio Fontana, one of the most emblematic artists in the gallery’s history. As Roberto Casamonti recalls, ‘Many years ago I happened to read on the back of one of Fontana’s works the sentence “Today is a beautiful day to live” [...] to this day, whenever I am about to embark on a new beginning, this statement comes to mind. And especially [...] on a day that celebrates the opening of the gallery’s new branch in Rome, with an exhibition dedicated to Lucio Fontana.’

The selection on show includes more than thirty wor- ks spanning almost the entirety of the artist’s oeuvre. A journey through the different stages of Fontana’s pic- torial language, from his ceramic works from the 1930s and 1940s, including Via Crucis of 1947 - the first of three that he created, consisting of fourteen glazed ter- racotta moulds made in the Albissola factory - to the Baroque compositions from the 1950s, which saw the introduction of new elements such as stones, sand and sequins, including Concetto spaziale, L’Inferno from 1956, and finally the cuts from the 1960s.

The exhibition comes to a close with the work Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio from 1963, the highest expression of the artist’s poetics and the apex of his plastic research in the spatial sense, defined by Fontana himself as the infinite, the inconceivable thing, the end of figuration, the prin- ciple of nothingness.

An exhibition that Roberto Casamonti chose to dedicate to the memory of Enrico Crispolti and that benefits from the critical contribution of Luca Massimo Barbero. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Forma Edizioni with essays by Enrico Crispolti, Luca Massimo Barbero, Gillo Dorfles as well as a handwritten document by Piero Dorazio. The Roman branch of Tornabuoni Arte is entrusted to Andrea Bizzarro’s management.

Lucio Fontana spent the first years of his life between Rosario di Santa Fe and Mi- lan, where his parents came from. He then settled in Europe in 1927.

During the 1930s, he began his artistic career as a sculptor and created works essentially made of terracotta and ceramic. Fontana quickly took part in important exhibitions, such as the Milan Triennale, the Venice Biennale and the Rome Qua- drennial.

His works were also exhibited outside Italian borders: in 1937 the artist worked in Sèvres and presented his ceramics during a solo exhibition at the Jeanne Bu- cher-Myrbor gallery in Paris.

In 1940, he fled the war in Europe and returned to Argentina where, in 1946, he laid out the principles of his artistic practice with the very first Manifiesto Blanco, a statement of Neo-Futurist poetry. He wanted to create art in keeping with its time that would embrace science and technology, and uncover a new dimension in the flat surface: the space beyond the canvas. By slashing his paintings – one of the most primitive gestures in art history – Fontana liberated the artist from the confines of the flat canvas surface and set the principles of the movement he co-founded: Spatialism.

The works Fontana created subsequently are invariably entitled “Concetto spaziale” (or “Spatial concept”). Having returned to Milan in 1947, he delved further into his Spatialist research, punching holes (buchi in Italian) into canvases, as an embodiment of space and a reminder of its infinite potential. In the following 1950s he created a series of works increasingly representative of in- formal thought: Fontana opens a path towards a search for infinity, space and spirituality with the series of the Stones, the Baroque and the chalks. In the early 1960s, Fontana fully embraced the monochrome, looking for purity and regularity in his work in order to overcome the chaos of Informal Art.

After the famous gallery owner Iris Clert dedicated two solo exhibitions to him in 1961 and in 1964, Fontana then became a promi- nent artistic figure: in 1966 he won the First Prize for painting at the 33rd edition of the Biennale of Venice while the MoMA in New York held a retrospective of his work.

He died in 1968, but posthumous exhibitions continued to follow: the Center Georges Pompidou held a remarkable retrospective in 1987 and the artist’s work was also present at the exhibition The Italian Metamorphosis at the Guggenheim in New York in 1994. Fontana remains to this day of the most famous and sought after Italian artists in the world; his work can be found in all the col- lections of the greatest museums such as the Pompidou Center, the Tate in London, the MoMA in New York.

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