Press Release

Lucio Fontana. On the Threshold

  • Dates: May 17–September 29, 2019
  • Curators: Iria Candela, "Estrellita B. Brodsky" Curator of Latin American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Manuel Cirauqui, Curator, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Fontana’s early works from the 1930s and 1940s mark a path towards increased abstraction, sensitive to the influence of the aesthetic currents that marked those complex years. At the same time, these works point towards the transgressive nature of the slashed canvases that dominated his later oeuvre.

The exhibition includes some extraordinary examples from his iconic Cuts (Tagli) series and from his earlier punctured Holes (Buchi) canvases, locating the radicalism of these works in a terrain that bridges painting, sculpture and action art.

Through his Spatial Environments (Ambienti spaziali) and experiments with light and space, and with neon tubes, Fontana laid the foundations for later developments in installation and immersive art.

On the Threshold offers a broad and transversal vision of a figure who voiced the conflicts and anguish that defined most of the twentieth century, from the avant-gardes’ reassessments of classicism to the aesthetics espoused by the totalitarian movements in Europe, from World War II to the international reorganization of post-war art movements, and rise of technology during the so-called “space age”.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Lucio Fontana. On the Threshold, a new look at the legacy of one of the seminal artists of the twentieth century. In a careful selection of close to a hundred works, including sculptures, ceramics, paintings, works on paper and environments created between 1931 and 1968, this exhibition ushers visitors through the fundamental periods of one of the most influential artists of the post-war period.

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