Lucio Fontana, Milan. 1963 © Fondazione Lucio Fontana by SIAE 2021. Photo: Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved

Lucio Fontana returns to the site of his first New York gallery exhibition

25 November 2021

Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero in collaboration with Fondazione Lucio Fontana, the show will be devoted to the radical Italian artist‘s sculptural work

In November 2022, Hauser & Wirth will stage the second part of a trilogy of exhibitions curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana. Dedicated to Fontana’s extraordinary experimentation in sculpture, this tailor-made presentation will take place at our uptown location, Hauser & Wirth New York, 69th Street, the very same building where in 1961 Fontana’s first solo shows in the United States were held concurrently at the Martha Jackson and David Anderson galleries.

These exhibitions, critical to introducing Fontana’s work more deeply to American audiences, followed the artist’s inclusion in the relevant 1949 exhibition ‘Twentieth-Century Italian Art,’ curated by James Thrall Sobey and Alfred H. Barr Jr., at the Museum of Modern Art, where his work remains a highlight of the permanent collection.

Our presentation of significant sculptural pieces will be the first of its kind in New York, providing a unique opportunity to reexamine the revolutionary practice of one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century through a body of work that has rarely been seen in the United States. The show will feature a meticulous selection of sculptures made in terracotta, clay, plaster, metal, and concrete—as well as a group of related drawings—to reveal the vital and extraordinary creativity of Fontana’s practice, which began in the early thirties and continued until his death in 1968.

Although best known for his Cuts series, slashed paintings created in the 1950s and 1960s that became symbolic of the postwar era, sculpture was immensely important to Fontana’s working methods and pivotal to his trajectory as an artist—some of the artist’s very first explorations of spatial concepts occurred in clay before ever being realized on canvas. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major catalogue from Hauser & Wirth Publishers.

Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale con neon [Spatial Environment with Neon Light], 1967/2020. Reconstruction authorized by Fondazione Lucio Fontana © Fondazione Lucio Fontana by SIAE 2021. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Hauser & Wirth Publishers’ book includes texts by Luca Massimo Barbero, Barbara Ferriani and Marina Pugliese

This exhibition follows ‘Lucio Fontana. Walking the Space: Spatial Environments, 1948 – 1968’ at our Los Angeles gallery in 2020, the first comprehensive presentation in the US of the late Italian master’s groundbreaking ‘Ambienti spaziali’ (Spatial Environments).

The exhibition was accompanied by a new book published by Hauser & Wirth Publishers and edited by Luca Massimo Barbero, in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, that features installation views of the meticulous reconstructions of nine spatial environments at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, as well as a selection of works on paper and precious historical documentation recovered from the archives of the Fondazione Lucio Fontana and over 20 archives in Europe and in North, Central, and South America.

The publication also includes an extensive text in four chapters by preeminent Fontana scholar Luca Massimo Barbero, analyzing Fontana’s critical contribution to the evolution of conceptual art and the confluence of art with science and technology as a means to explore aspects of human perceptual experience.

Additionally in 2022, SKIRA will publish a fundamental catalogue raisonné of ceramic sculpture curated by Luca Massimo Barbero in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana. This important volume, strongly supported by the Foundation, will be an essential reference point for research surrounding Fontana’s ceramic sculpture.

The third installment of the Fontana trilogy, a major anthological exhibition, will take place at our Hong Kong gallery in 2023.