Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept, New York 10 (Concetto spaziale, New York 10) (1962). Copper with slashes and scratches. Photo: Zachary Small.
Lucio Fontana could have spent the rest of his natural-born life building colossal tombs and funerary statues for his father's sculpture workshop in Argentina. Instead, he traveled the world in search of immortality.
Participant and witness to the world wars that rocked early 20th-century Europe, the Argentine-Italian artist harnessed the existential dread of a battle-worn generation and slashed through his monochrome canvases with the precision of a surgeon's scalpel starting in 1958. Fontana buried his hands into these paintings' wounds, widening their lacerations by force before stuffing black gauze into them to give the impression of a measureless void. Emancipating himself from two-dimensional space, Fontana became known as a radical obscurant of the boundaries between painting and sculpture.