Concetto Spaziale: Attese

  • 1960
  • Lucio Fontana
  • oil, cut on canvas
  • 130,5 x 97,2 x 2,6 cm
    152,8 x 119 x 8,1 cm (incl. lijst / frame)
  • Location VAM, B0, 07, 00
  • Acquired in 1967
  • Inventory number 127

The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.

If you need specific information on this work or artist, remember that the Van Abbemuseum Library is at your disposal, or feel free to write to the library.


The work 'Concetto Spaziale: Attese' by the Italian artist Lucio Fontana consists of a monochrome white canvas which has been cut with a sharp knife. The cut runs from the top down, but is not completely vertical. It follows the natural movement of the arm making the cut and is therefore slightly curved. Along the edges of the cut, the canvas is slightly scrolled back, most noticeably in the centre.

In 'Concetto Spaziale: Attese' Lucio Fontana is making a radical gesture. He moves away from the starting point that a painting is a flat surface and that space can be suggested by painting on it. Fontana said, “When I work on one of my prepared canvases as a painter, I do not want to make a painting but I want to open up the space and create a new dimension for the art, connecting it with the cosmos, as it extends infinitely behind the flat surface of the image.” In 1949 he first made the openings on the paper or the canvas on which he was working by drilling holes in them. He called all his works “Concetto Spaziale” or “spatial concept”. From 1958 he has made works which he cut with a knife. He calls these “Concetto Spaziale: Attese” (expectations, hope).

Fontana aimed to overturn the traditional function of an artwork as an object of beauty and admiration. The work of art should be part of reality, of life. In this respect his ideas corresponded to those of Klein and Manzoni, fellow artists with whom he was in regular contact. He considered the idea on which an artwork is based to be more important than its execution. The research is more important than the result. This meant that Fontana was a precursor of Conceptual Art. He wanted to break down the traditional limits of art, and experimented with light, space and movement. He believed in a coming together of art, science and technology. His ideas influenced the Zero group of artists in Germany and the Nul group in the Netherlands.

Does this page contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.