Lucio Fontana

Hayward Gallery

Retrospectives have an unfortunate tendency to diminish a renowned artist’s work. Indeed, their very inclusiveness tends to cut a figure down: What you once thought of as single-minded purpose comes across as mere habit; what once seemed amiably various seems like meandering lassitude. So it is a rare pleasure when a retrospective actually succeeds in aggrandizing its subject, and, if only in this regard, the Hayward Gallery’s “Lucio Fontana” is a triumph. Highly selective, the exhibition nevertheless encompasses work from 1929 to 1968, the year Fontana died; at every turn of the gallery’s two spacious levels, it illuminates, astonishes, pleases, and moves. Designed by the minimalist architect Claudio Silvestrin, this elegant exhibition is perfectly attuned to Fontana’s own impeccable chic. Sarah Whitfield, the curator and art historian who organized this show for the Hayward, takes us

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