On a bright and brisk winter morning on February 23 I set out to visit the three installation of artist Lucio Fontana. The first stop on Museum mile was Museo del Barrio. One installation, a red labyrinth. How appropriate I thought as the theme of our 12 Clinical Study Days held in Miami, January 19 and 20, 2019 was “The Psychoanalytic Subject in the Maze: Constructions in Analysis.”

The second stop was the prestigious Metropolitan Museum. Again a one piece installation this time in the ceiling some knots with neon lights.

The 3rd stop was the Met Brewer Museum. This was the piece de resistance. Lucio Fontana was an Argentine-Italian painter, sculptor and theorist from the first half of the 20 century. He is the founder of Spatialism. From 1949 on he started the so-called Spatial Concept or slash series, consisting in holes or slashes on the surface of monochrome paintings, drawing a sign of what he named “an art for the Space Age”. He devised the generic title Concetto spaziale (‘spatial concept’) for these works and used it for almost all his later paintings. These can be divided into broad categories: the Buchi (‘holes), beginning in 1949, and the Tagli (‘slashes’), which he instituted in the mid-1950s[1].

In the Met Brewer museum I was able to see an important display of his work, of holes, slashes but also furrows and some of his last works where he added pieces of Murano glass. There were also the large terracotta balls with cuts or holes that the artist described as “nothingness, or the beginning of everything”

It was impossible not to think of Lacan’s teachings about the cut, the hole and the furrows of Lituraterre.

As Lacan said the artist precedes the analyst. The work of Fontana made me think of the work of analysis when we operate on the real and try to extract jouissance. If we follow Lacan’s later teachings we find the formula in Seminar 20 “where it speaks, it enjoys. If there is meaning in Jouissance, then it implies the Other. But the question is how to touch, how to modify the jouissance of the One, outside meaning? Lacan’s work with the Borromean knots and links points in that direction. The cut, the holes, the furrows produced with and in the materiality of lalangue are the tools we dispose of.

As Jacques-Alain Miller explains [2] ”the hole, as opposed to the lack, implies the disappearance of the order of space… it is the most profound value of the barred A… it is not a lack in the Other, but rather, in the place of the Other there is a hole. It is in relationship to the hole that there is ex-sistence,…the correct position of the real, that is to say, the exclusion of sense.”

With the cut, the hole and the furrow we deal with the impossible of the real.

[1] Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucio_Fontana

[2] Miller, J.-A. Lacan’s Later Teaching. Cut and Continuity, Lacanian Ink 21. https://www.lacan.com/frameXXI2.htm