within a low-light setting, milan’s hangarbicocca presents a series of light installations by late italian artist lucio fontana. called ‘spatial environments’, the show features independent rooms specifically designed by the artist as part of the 1940’s spatialism movement. the public is invited to discover the different rooms one at a time, gaining a full sense of their groundbreaking significance: the aesthetic power that makes these works so innovative even today, influencing artists like bruce nauman, yayoi kusama and james turrell. 

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, fonti di energia, soffitto al neon per ‘italia 61’, a torino, 1961/2017, installation view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © fondazione lucio fontana photo: agostino osio

 

 

lucio fontana’s hangar bicocca ‘environments’ exhibition opens with ‘neon structure for the 9th milan triennale, 1951’, conceived as a decorative element for design triennial event. made up by a hundred-meter-long neon tube, the vast blue arabesque hangs at the entrance, setting the tone of the show. following it, users will encounter the first room showcasing ‘spatial environment in black light, 1948-1949’, first presented at milan’s galleria del naviglio. lit by an ultraviolet lamp, the dark room sees a suspended abstract sculpture painted with fluorescent colors. this work marks fontana’s move past the very notion of painting and sculpture.

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, ‘ambienti/environments’, exhibition view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © agostino osio

 

 

the exhibition continues with ‘utopias’, ‘spatial environment’, ‘spatial environment with neon’, and ‘spatial environment with red light’. the latter three were all reconstructed for the first time at pirelli hangarbicocca and were originally conceived for the european tour of lucio fontana’s american solo show presented at amsterdam’s stedelijk museum in 1976.

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana in collaboration with nanda vigo, ambiente spaziale: ‘utopie’, nella XIII triennale di milano, 1964/2017, installation view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy archivio nanda vigo and pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © fondazione lucio fontana, photo: agostino osio

 

 

the last environment, conceived in 1968, ‘spatial environment in documents 4’ in kassel, has been installed at the end of the chronological sequence. this work takes the form of a white maze leading to a large slit in the wall echoing the artist’s ‘cuts’ series. overall, the exhibition showcases the deep investigations the artist partook during his whole career on the concepts of space, light, the void and the cosmos.

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, ambiente spaziale a luce nera, 1948-49/2017, installation view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © fondazione lucio fontana photo: agostino osio

 

 

‘this exhibition stresses the historical significance of fontana’s ambienti,’ comments vicente todolí, artistic director of pirelli hangarbicocca and co-curator of the exhibition. ‘this large body of works, though less familiar to viewers than his ‘buchi’ (‘holes’) and ‘tagli’ (‘cuts’) or his concetti spaziali (‘spatial concepts’), marks a comparable break with the traditional forms of sculpture and painting, foreshadowing themes explored by artists and movements of following generations, from gruppo t to yves klein to gruppo zero. in addition, the investigations conducted in these ambienti enter into dialog with the work of many artists who have exhibited at pirelli hangarbicocca.’

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, struttura al neon per la ix triennale di milano, 1951/2017, installation view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © fondazione lucio fontana photo: agostino osio

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, ambiente spaziale con neon, 1967/2017, installation view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © fondazione lucio fontana photo: agostino osio

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, ambiente spaziale, 1966/2017, installation view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan. © fondazione lucio fontana, photo: agostino osio

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, ambiente spaziale a luce rossa, 1967/2017, installation view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © fondazione lucio fontana photo: agostino osio

lucio fontana hangarbicocca ambienti environment light installations designboom
lucio fontana, ‘ambienti/environments’, exhibition view at pirelli hangarbicocca, milan, 2017
image courtesy pirelli hangarbicocca, milan © agostino osio

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