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Lucio Fontana was born February 19, 1899, in Rosario de Santa Fé, Argentina.
His father was Italian and his mother Argentinean. He lived in Milan from 1905
to 1922 and then moved back to Argentina, where he worked as a sculptor in his
fathers studio for several years before opening his own. In 1926, he participated
in the first exhibition of Nexus, a group of young Argentinean artists working
in Rosario de Santa Fé. Upon his return to Milan in 1928, Fontana enrolled
at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, which he attended for two years.
The Galleria Il Milione, Milan, organized Fontanas first solo exhibition
in 1930. In 1934, he joined the group of abstract Italian sculptors associated
with Galleria Il Milione. The artist traveled to Paris in 1935 and joined the
Abstraction-Création group. The same year, he developed his skills in
ceramics in Albisola, Italy, and later at the Sèvres factory, near Paris.
In 1939, he joined the Corrente, a Milan group of expressionist artists. He
also intensified his lifelong collaboration with architects during this period.
In 1940, Fontana moved to Buenos Aires. With some of his students, he founded
in 1946 the Academia de Altamira from which emerged the Manifiesto Blanco group.
He moved back to Milan in 1947 and in collaboration with a group of writers
and philosophers signed the Primo manifesto dello spazialismo. He subsequently
resumed his ceramic work in Albisola to explore these new ideas with his Concetti
The year 1949 marked a turning point in Fontanas career; he concurrently
created the Buchi, his first series of paintings in which he punctured the canvas,
and his first spatial environment, a combination of shapeless sculptures, fluorescent
paintings, and black lights to be viewed in a dark room. The latter work soon
led him to employ neon tubing in ceiling decoration. In the early 1950s, he
participated in the Italian Art Informel [more] exhibitions. During this decade,
he explored working with various effects, such as slashing and perforating,
in both painting and sculpture. The artist visited New York in 1961 during a
show of his work at the Martha Jackson Gallery. In 1966, he designed opera sets
and costumes for La Scala, Milan.
In the last year of his career, Fontana became increasingly interested in the
staging of his work in the many exhibitions that honored him worldwide, as well
as in the idea of purity achieved in his last white canvases. These concerns
were prominent at the 1966 Venice Biennale, for which he designed the environment
for his work, and at the 1968 Documenta in Kassel. Fontana died September 7,
1968, in Comabbio, Italy.
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