Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the cut

Although the Lucio Fontana retrospective show in Paris gave new emphasis to his ceramic work, it did include a number of the classic slashed paintings for which he is famous. Fontana saw these works as the end of a spiritual quest to create the perfect painting but for all his high mindedness it's hard not to see the canvases as injured when you stand in front of them. That impression was reinforced looking at a short film that showed Fontana making one of his slashed paintings with a disarmingly prosaic box cutter. Hard not to make the thought provoking jump (one that has almost certainly been made many times before) to the terrible actions of Dutchman Gerard Jan van Bladeren who slashed the Barnett Newman painting Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III in 1986 and then, 11 years later, returned to the same museum to put five meter gashes into another Newman work, Cathedra.

Images: top, Lucio Fontana Concetto spaziale, Attese. Bottom left Barnet Newman  Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III and right Cathedra