I arrived in Genoa in 1956, and the first person I called arrived in Rome is Lucio Fontana was for us a very important character who had already made the Manifesto Blanco, although still not anointed with the first prize for painting assigned to him by the jury of the XXXIII Venice Biennale in ’66 for his room with white cloth torn from a single cut.
It was a great kindness and invited me to visit him. He was one of the few Argentines arrived with his father in Italy to Milan in just six years to attend school and at the time of my move to Italy many years had passed. So I went in via Monforte 27, where he lived, and I immediately took a liking to. I saw before me a very elegant man, well dressed, as always, with a tie, actually a real dandy. After talking to a lot of his stuff, Spatialism – crucial for me for my future work – we went for lunch, and without putting time in half, from all dealers known to him – and there were many! – To introduce myself to them with great warmth as you do with a young artist, showing my drawings as a sign of note.
At the time I was a very figurative and I immediately enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts for a place to work and continue my research, of course, influenced by spatialism Fontana. Assiduously frequented the studios of several artists Margutta, Monteleoni from others, but compared to their Lucio had a special charisma and for his kindness and for his inner strength. He was very confident, had no problems with other colleagues, and this led him to be wise and always caring with everyone. The great figures of the past and the present, albeit with a strong-willed character and sometimes as difficult as it could be a Picasso, have a safe, positive energy – such as Fontana fact – that immediately makes them available are noble in their gestures.
Our attendance has lasted many years, until his early death in 1968. At that time we were regulars beautiful collection of Peggy Guggenheim where there we met Teresita Fontana, because until then no one had ever before encountered. Teresita Rasin – this was her maiden name – was his great companion, who helped him with his work as a milliner, and although they were still married, the expectations from ’40 to ’47, when Lucio decided to start towards the Argentina and settled in Buenos Aires (there was already back from ’21 to ’28 in Rosario Santa Fe). Upon his arrival in Milan came the big breakthrough and founded the Movement spatialist.
I remember Teresita had a shop in the back of the shop and lived with great simplicity. The death of the Master made a very important job, trying to rid the market of false Fountain in exchange for an original work. It was she who set up his Foundation in 1982 with the help of Valeria, the secretary of a lifetime, which has sadly left us recently.
With Teresita we have done much to Lucio. We had an exhibition in his honor in Buenos Aires, but in the end she trusted because he feared that with the opportunity to be able to move other false, as Fontana had come to be a universal artist who had acquired the full extent of the great, although accorded relatively late in the art market.
This fourth dimension as he lived Fontana?
Lucio began as a sculptor. His father was a stonemason who worked mainly for cemeteries. Fontana was a figurative rather splendid. He repeated to Teresita that would leave a legacy of which she could not account for, but that would be served, and this heritage was a box full of drawings. I have had cultural and political positions with the Istituto Italo Latino Americano and I thought I make a tribute to Lucio organizing an exhibition in his honor and Crispolti and Teresita chose all the designs destroying innumerable packages of paper at the time: think she could make many false!
To return to your question, compared with figurative designs, the punzones – of which there is a splendid photographic documentation of Ugo Mulas – and the cuts are next and represent a laceration to the two-dimensionality of the canvas, which may seem simple, but to which no one had ever thought before. His works would not refer to any kind of art but the granite belief that it was possible to go beyond painting and sculpture.
How to read the creative path of Fontana?
Act. What a genius eclectic and independent of the contemporary scene that has spanned many fields with great versatility of artistic research: from sculpture to decoration, from painting to ceramics to the installation environment. The punzones, as well as the spatial concept is what makes his work unique and unrepeatable tearing the canvas and with it all the academic rules related to the use of perspective. Lucio was an artist very different from what we are usually accustomed to raffigurarci creative. Think of him as a bohemian and a sentimental would be false. He was a courteous gentleman very lovable typical of his time.
Joint statement universally accorded to the Fifties and Sixties, the number of shares to be at the Milan Triennale, the Quadrennial Rome to Venice Biennale – not to mention the monographic exhibitions in the most prestigious international galleries – how it changes, if it changes, his art?
simplicity of color, its surface still elementary monochrome, delicate, sensual, bright or completely white and the ineffability of matter are the exaltation of the gesture that breaks down and explodes the space. The punzones forties prior to the cuts of the fifties represented by Lucio not a point of arrival but of departure towards a continuous and incessant artistic research. While never abandoning the cuts, fundamental experience for him was his stay in New York in the sixties that, on his return, led him to develop a series of splendid works on metal plates. Then came the painted oval oil monochromes, dotted with holes, tears and even sequins known as the End of God, without forgetting its Teatrini that from ’64 to ’66 it engaged in diverse and elaborate solutions: wooden frames shaped and lacquered that contained monochrome paintings, as well as ellipses, these wooden, painted in bright colors and designed on drawings made by him.
How did you get the work of Fontana in his collection
Concetto Spaziale that I have kept to this day I was given by Lucio. I remember going to see him, as often happened, in his gallery, and he, with the generosity as I said apart only great, but I wanted to give a work that was chosen by me and said, “Hold to account for a day you will. ” Yes, now is the time.