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Spatial Concept: Expectations

David R. Flum, MD
JAMA. 2009;302(14):1508. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1464.
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The tearing of a blank canvas—like the knife on skin—contains a force that violates, but does so without violence. It is a controlled force that creates as it destroys.

Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), artist and sculptor, was born in Argentina, raised in Milan, and returned to Argentina as a wounded veteran after World War I. In Milan, Fontana had trained as a sculptor at the Academia di Brera between 1928 and 1930. Hardly avant-garde, the school taught traditional figurative sculpture based on 19th-century prototypes, but Fontana also experimented with more progressive, abstract styles of art. When he returned to Argentina in 1946, he was well versed in the stylistic languages of Cubism, Futurism, and the more austere abstraction of Mondrian. He put his education to good use by becoming an integral part of the Argentinian art world, collaborating with other artists and founding the Academia Altamira, a school devoted to artistic experimentation.

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Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Spatial Concept: Expectations, 1960, Italian, born Argentina. Slashed canvas and gauze. 100.3×80.3 cm. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art (http://moma.org/), New York, New York; gift of Philip Johnson, 508.1970/Art Resource, New York, New York. ©2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, New York/ADAGP, Paris, France.

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