SPATIALISM: the Milanese movement which is conquering the world.
Lucio Fontana was born in Argentina, to an Italian mother and an Argentinian father who was both an architect and a sculptor. His family moved to Milan in 1905 and he was educated in Italy. Despite his youth, he fought in the First World War, before moving to Buenos Aires in 1924 to help in a commercial sculpture business his father had set up there.
He returned to Milan at the end of the 1920s, enrolling in the city’s leading art school, then in 1935 moved to Paris, where he joined the Abstraction-Creation association and learned to work in the medium of ceramics.
By 1940, he was back in Argentina, where he spent the next seven years formulating the principles of Spatialism but struggled to create an art capable of expressing its ideals. It was only a year after his return to Milan, where he would spend the rest of his life, that he made what he regarded as his great breakthrough. Enraged by a failed painting, he slashed and ripped the offending canvas to shreds. He was pleased by what he saw. “Spatialist” art was born.
He was very much a Milanese artist, both in his techniques and his sensibility. He sometimes called his slashed canvases “tagli”, a word that in Italian evokes the cut of a suit as well as the mere act of cutting. In the venerable tradition of Milanese tailoring, those who cut cloth are also encouraged to see themselves as draughtsmen, people who draw lines with scissors and knife. Fontana cuts his canvases with all the nervy elegance of a high-end fashion designer.
Nowadays, with the economical recession shattering many artistic movements like 19th century accademy art, Spatialism confirms its allure. Collectors all over the world now strive to own a Fontana cut, and his followers are now quickly reaching his levels.
Enrico Castellani and his Estroflessioni from the 60's can easily reach €1M at auction; Paolo Scheggi just reached his world record at Dorotheum with a staggering €572.000 (estimate 60/90K); Bonalumi's works from the 60's are established with prices ranging from €150.000 to €500.000; Dadamaino's Volumi just achieved €80.000 at Dorotheum last contemporary sale.
Auction houses like Christie's and Sotheby's created the 'Italian Contemporary Sale' to keep this trend up and increase fascination towards this group of artists justifying rise in prices with the incredible demand generated from all over the world.
And despite the moltitude of records and price peaks gained by the movement, it seems like the Spatialist fever that contaminated the art world could not be over yet..