“Ambienti/Environments” is focused on Lucio Fontana’s pioneering work in the realm of installation art, with a selection of his seminal Ambienti spaziali—seen together for the first time—that highlights the farsighted, innovative genius of this twentieth-century master.
The Ambienti spaziali (“Spatial Environments”), rooms and corridors that the artist began to conceive and design in the late 1940s, were almost always destroyed once the exhibition was over; they are Fontana’s most experimental yet least-known works, due to their ephemeral nature. Some of the environments on view have been reconstructed for the first time since the artist’s death through the research of art historian Marina Pugliese and art conservator Barbara Ferriani, co-curators of the show, with the collaboration of Fondazione Lucio Fontana.
Visitors have the opportunity to experience and enjoy this less familiar part of Fontana’s oeuvre for the first time, in an unprecedented presentation that reveals their historical importance while conveying their contemporary nature and innovative power.
Lucio Fontana (Rosario, Argentina, 1899, – Varese, Italy, 1968) was one of the most influential Italian artists of the mid-twentieth century. Fontana dedicated his entire career to investigating the concepts of space, light, the void and the cosmos. His work radically transformed our conception of painting, sculpture, and space by transcending the two-dimensionality of the canvas, and foreshadowed many movements of the 1960s and 1970s, like Arte Povera, Conceptualism, Land Art and Environmental art. As the founder of Spatialism, an artistic movement that emerged in Italy in the late ’40s, Fontana notably did away with the distinction between painting and sculpture, with his famous slashes and holes in the canvas.
The exhibition is curated by art historian Marina Pugliese, conservator Barbara Ferriani and Vicente Todolí, Artistic Director of Pirelli HangarBicocca, and will be accompanied by a catalog, published by Mousse Publishing (November 2017), that presents the most up-to-date international research into Fontana’s Ambienti, with an extensive selection of essays and images.