4. His Ambienti spaziali influenced the development of international art movements

9 Things You May Not Know about Lucio Fontana

“In January 1949, the world’s first Ambiente spaziale was shown at the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan: neither painting nor sculpture, a form made of light within space—the emotional freedom of the viewer”. (Letter no. 261, dated July 30, 1951, addressed to Gio Ponti, in Lucio Fontana: Lettere 1919-1968, ed. Paolo Campiglio [Milan: Skira, 1999] 217-218)

Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale a luce nera, 1948-1949 (detail). “Lucio Fontana, 1946-1960,” Museo d’arte Mendrisio, 2008. Photo: Stefano Spinelli. © Fondazione Lucio Fontana

Lucio Fontana’s Ambiente spaziale a luce nera feels innovative and contemporary even today. It centers on the viewer and on individual perceptions, fitting seamlessly into Fontana’s investigation of space, light, and emptiness. In it, Fontana foreshadowed and influenced the immersive works of Italian and European artists and movements in the 1960s and ‘70s, such as Gruppo T (which stood for “time”), founded in Milan in 1959, or the German Group Zero, which explored optical and perceptual phenomena.

Raffaele Carrieri, Fontana ha toccato la Luna (Fontana has touched the Moon), review published on Tempo, XI, no. 8, 19-26 February 1949 (detail)