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"1961-1968"

His international exhibitions, the 1966 Venice Biennial and his last years at Comabbio

From the start of the sixties, Fontana was particularly committed to his series of "Olii" ("Oils") on canvas, where the thick painted layer is perforated with holes or gashes. This series includes the works devoted to an evocation of the city of Venice, displayed at his first one-man show in the USA at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York (1961). The same year, inspired by the city of New York, he devised a new kind of work, which became his series of "Metalli" ("Metal Sheets"), shiny metal plates that the artist cut into with gashes. His unstoppable inventive spirit was paralleled by the number of exhibitions devoted to his work, in Milan, Venice, Tokyo, London, Bruxelles. In his quest for iconographic renewal, he developed his important cycle that goes by the name of "La Fine di Dio" ("The End of God", 1963-1964), a series of monochrome oval canvases, at times covered in sequins and cut through with holes or gashes, first shown at the Ariete gallery in Milan and later at the Iris Clert gallery in Paris..

Lucio Fontana next put his creativity to the test with his series of "Teatrini" ("Little Theatres", 1964-1966), works where the lacquered wooden frames are shaped to make up different outlines. The year 1966 was a year of important international acclaim. One-man exhibitions were organized at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, at the Marlborough Gallery in New York and at the Alexander Iolas gallery in Paris. In Italy, the hall that was devoted to his work at the 33rd Venice Biennial was of particular prominence; in this space he worked alongside the architect Carlo Scarpa to create an oval maze-like environment illuminated by a white light and covered by white canvases each with a single slash. This work was greeted with great acclaim and won the Biennial prize. The year 1967 marked the culmination of his strict use of single colours, and his tendency to cut canvases with more and more regular clean slashes in his series of "Ellissi" ("Ellipses"), elliptical lacquered wooden panels in various colours and perforated by machine-cut holes, in line with new technical developments. At the start of 1968, Lucio Fontana left his studio in Corso Monforte, in Milan, and moved to Comabbio (near Varese). He died in Varese on the 7th September of the same year.

 

 

 

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