I have posted previously Fontana’s work from Venice Guggenheim and this detail is from the same series but in Tate, London. What seems to happen in his most elaborate series of ‘tagli’ (cuts) that Fontana started in 1958 and continued until his death, is that he left behind the decorative in order to emphasise space and time. The cut is carefully thought of, canvas and tools prepared in advance, premeditated. However the cut is made in an instant. The painting is a paradox spatially it allowed us to peer behind the picture plane and temporally as its presence here and now set in a frame provokes a possibility of past or introduction of the future within the space of the cut. Fontana himself often claimed that he has ‘constructed’ rather then ‘destroyed’.
Barnett Newman, similarly, had his own breakthrough ten years earlier with his first painting ‘Onement, I’ that he introduced the ‘zip’ where he applied light red coloured zip atop a strip of masking tape with a palette knife which in this composition. See: http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=79601