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Creation comes from destruction

Posted January. 28, 2021 07:25,   

Updated January. 28, 2021 07:25


Holes on a round and pink canvas, traces of slashes by scalpels or knives. At a glance, it appears like a ruined piece of art, one that the artist has abused to take out his anger on, but amazingly it is a finished piece. It is, in fact, a well-known masterpiece sold for millions of dollars at auctions. Why did the artist make holes in the canvas? Why is it considered art?

Lucio Fontana, born in Argentina and worked in Italy, gained worldwide fame for his art work in which he created holes swiped with knives. He was trained to become a sculptor by his dad, who was a sculptor himself, but Lucio did not appreciate traditional art. He pursued a new way of art in line with changes in time, considering “paintings and sculptures things of the past”. Fontana became the founder for “Spatialism” in 1947 and two years later he began to create holes in canvas, as an effort to create three-dimensional space in a second-dimensional surface. These series became to be known as “Concetto Spaziale.”

Post-Renaissance, artists struggled to create paintings that resembled the real world. Fontana, however, created a real space instead of drawing images on a flat surface. It was a new concept of art spanning from drawing, sculpture and architecture. It was a new type of painting, working with scalpels or knives instead of brushes, making dents on the canvas.  

In the 1960s, he dismantled the traditional convention of working with rectangular shaped canvas. He created series titled “End of God,” painting and egg-shaped canvas. The pink used is not normally used in traditional paintings. The title suggests the end of the conventions and long-standing practices that were upheld like religion in traditional art. It also signals that innovation stems from destruction of the old.  

Confined thinking or space is stifling. Stagnant water is bound to corrupt. The solution is to find a breakthrough. Just as Fontana used a scalpel to break free from the confined practices of traditional art, we need our own tools to break away from old ways of thinking, old practices and legacy thoughts.