Lucio Fontana

Lucio Fontana was born on February 19, 1899, in Rosario de Santa Fé, Argentina. After living in Milan from 1905 to 1922, he returned to Argentina where for several years he worked as a sculptor in his brother's studio. In 1926 he participated in the first exhibition of Nexus, a group of young Argentine artists active in Rosario de Santa Fé. Back in Italy in 1928 he attended the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan for two years. In this city he held his first solo exhibition in 1930 at Galleria Il Milione.
In 1935 he settled in Paris where he joined the Abstraction-Création group and began working with ceramics in Albisola, Italy, and Sèvres, France. In 1939 he joined the Milanese group of expressionist artists Corrente and the following year moved to Buenos Aires, where with a group of his students he founded the Academia de Altamira in 1946 and published Manifiesto Blanco. Back in Milan in 1947 the artist signed, together with a group of writers and philosophers, the First Manifesto of Spatialism.
The year 1949 marks a turning point in the artist's career: he creates the Buchithe first series of paintings in which he punctures canvases, and his first spatial environment, a set of shapeless sculptures, fluorescent paintings, and infrared lights to be observed in a dark room. This kind of work soon led him to use neon tubes in ceiling decoration. In the early 1950s he participated in exhibitions of the Art Informel movement and throughout the decade experimented with various effects, such as cuts and perforations, in both painting and sculpture. The artist visited New York in 1961 on the occasion of one of his exhibitions at the Martha Jackson Gallery. In 1966 he collaborated with La Scala theater in Milan, designing sets and costumes.
In the last years of his artistic career Fontana is increasingly interested in the staging of his work in the many exhibitions dedicated to him around the world, as well as of the idea of purity achieved in his later blank canvases. This is evident in the 1966 Venice Biennale, where the artist designs an environment for his works, and at the 1968 Kassel Documenta. Fontana died in Comabbio, Varese, on September 7, 1968.