Guggenheim Bilbao installs an impressive work by Lucio Fontana in the Atrium
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is unveiling the installation of a spectacular work by Lucio Fontana in its Atrium, which Museum visitors will be able to enjoy over the next three years. Neon Structure for the Ninth Milan Triennial (Struttura al neon per la IX Triennale di Milano), created by the great Italian-Argentine artist in 1951, is a piece that can simultaneously be considered a drawing, a sculpture, a light design object, and an expressive gesture frozen midair. The privilege of exhibiting it stems from the exceptional partnership between the Fondazione Lucio Fontana in Milan and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
The complexity of this work, which was part of the 2019 exhibition Lucio Fontana. On the Threshold, engages with an exceptional interlocutor: the building designed by Frank Gehry, whose sketches scrawled on paper are reminiscent of Fontana’s spatial arabesques. Because of its luminosity and sheer size, the impressive neon plays with perspective and distance, intensifying viewers’ experience of the architecture, which is perceptible both inside and outside the Museum.
Throughout his career, Lucio Fontana
(b. 1899, Rosario, Argentina – d. 1968, Varese, Italy) turned space into a topic
of constant inquiry and meditation, and he addressed it in multiple contexts
using a wide range of materials. After ushering in the Spatialist movement and
returning to Italy in 1947, Fontana gradually veered towards radical abstraction
and experimentation. A pioneer in his use of empty space as a generator and
unique component of artworks, Fontana was a key figure in the development of
multiple avant-garde groups—including the international group Zero—as well as
serving as a touchstone for notable artists from subsequent generations,
including Yves Klein, Jorge Oteiza and Jesús Rafael Soto. Despite being
world-renowned for his blazing monochrome, cut, and punctured canvases, Fontana
always considered himself a sculptor and approached each piece with a complete
experience of color and gesture, time, depth, volume, material, and light.
In the words of the president of the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Paolo Laurini, “The neon created for the Ninth Milan Triennial in 1951 can easily be considered one of the most representative and iconic works of Lucio Fontana, a perfect example of his groundbreaking creativity.” In Laurini’s opinion, this work’s presentation in the Atrium of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is exceptional because, “the artist always had a special relationship with architects, whose spatial sensibility he felt an affinity for. The amazing naturalness with which Fontana’s installation in Bilbao engages in dialogue with Frank Gehry’s fascinating architecture—offering provocative and novel visions and perspectives—leads us to think that this work would find an ideal echo here.”
Release: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
March 15, 2021