Untitled, 1997, #9
3.5 x 4.2 inches
Edition of 1
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Franco Fontana (b. 1933, Modena) is one of the most famous contemporary Italian photographers, considered one of the pioneers of the colour format. Best-known for his abstract colour landscapes, he is credited as the inventor of the photographic line, often referred to as ‘the concept of line’. His bold use of colour has earned him comparisons with painters such as Newman, Rothko, and de Staël. Later critics have labelled Fontana’s unique and vibrant language of colour-interplay the Photographic Trans-avantgarde. He explored various subjects: urban landscapes, portraiture, fashion, still-life and the nude.
Like many artists, Fontana used the Polaroid camera to make images that are spontaneous, intimate and experimental. In a pre-digital world, each sheet of Polaroid film contained a pocket of chemicals that processed the exposure to produce a unique photographic artefact. Atlas hold a collection of 173 signed and dated Polaroids (made between 1980 and 2001) which embody moments when the artist was caught by a particular interplay of shape and colour: nudes entwined in lengths of red fabric in sparkling turquoise swimming pools and on dry land, architectural details and street scenes are all relocated to the Polaroid’s distinctive frame.
“The Polaroid: a magic trick, a mirage that would take form before your very eyes, mesmerising and developing in a few minutes. A moment captured with the joy and satisfaction brought about by the thought of seeing the result immediately, a childlike kind of joy.” – Franco Fontana