Table of Contents:
|Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Zang Tumb Tumb, 1914. Cover by the author.|
With the publication of the sound poem Zang Tumb Tuuum (1912), a graphic account of the Battle of Tripoli, by the poet-artist Marinetti, the modern visual communication was born. Marinetti's typographical innovations, within the parameters of graphic design, introduced a powerful technique for representation of the clamorous hum-drum of modern life, which used expressive typography with poetic impressions to illustrate the repetition of the drumbeat of war. He dubbed his technique “multilinear lyricism, ” which with great ingenuity and visual imagination composed the type of varying sizes into split columns, horizontal and vertical elements, integrated at right angles to each other, with fragmented words into letters which amplified the onomatopoeic effect. He wrote:
The book will be the futurists expression of our futurist consciousness. I am against what is known as the harmony of a setting. When necessary, we shall use three or four columns to a page and twenty different typefaces . We shall represent hasty perceptions in italic and express a scream in bold types... a new painterly, typographic representation will born out of the printed pages.The graphic technique and formal composition of this work became remarkably influential in modernist print and the emerging culture of the European Avant-garde.
|Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Palabras en libertad.|
|Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, "Irredentismo", 1914|
|Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Futurist words-in-freedom, 1915|
|Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Les Mots En Liberte Futuristes, 1919.|
|Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, from poemDUNE, parole in libertã, 1914. |
Marinetti created a multisensory experience by using a creative and daring typography in an unconventional layout, that had a lasting impact on graphic design.
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
|Guity Novin, Futurists in Futurism, 2011|
The last century of the second millennium, heralded the emergence of radical political, social, cultural and economic changes. While a new revolutionary attitude casting a dark shadow all over Europe, the radical scientific and technological advances had exacerbated the inherent tensions in the fabric of the traditional socio-economic structures. The new technology embedded in highly sophisticated new industrial products; such as motor vehicles, aircrafts, motion pictures, telecommunications, logistical and combative military equipments; tanks, machine guns, chemical and biological warfare, had changed forever all aspects of social life, including the whole context of political discourses.
The visual artists tried to engage in a discourse that would confront the new reality of power relationships. They felt, the conventional representation in art, even within more modern developments, is incapable of capturing the essence of the new reality. Something radically new, bold, and revolutionary was needed. Futurists asked artists, poets, and designers to join them in their struggle for destruction of outdated assumptions about vision and language. The Futurism Manifesto, written by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in the Parisian newspaper Le Figaro, in February 20th 1909, was a definitive rejection of the past and its heritage. It was a celebration of change, originality and industrialism.
Perhaps, this was an emotional reaction stemming from the sorry state of a divided Italy at the time, which had fallen behind Germany, France, and England both economically and culturally. To participate in the European modernity, the Italian public needed to become involved in the technological progress of the 20th century. Marinetti felt that the only way to achieve this aim was through the World War I, which at the time was looming at the horizon. He thought, a Great War could bring about such changes. 'We want to glorify war - the world's only hygiene,'' proclaimed the Futurist manifesto. Marinetti exalted the dynamism of the modern world, especially its science and technology. His aim was to detach completely from the history and look to the future, thus he asked for the destruction of all museums and libraries. He called for the creation of a new aesthetic of speed and energy through celebration of aggressive war machines. Futurism did not succeed in destroying the past, but it hindsight, it was a reliable soothsayer for what was about to happen in the 20th century-- from the technological onslaught to the genocidal wars, from the globalized communications to the spread of multinational media.
The idea of breaking with the past was not new in the modern thinking. Charles Baudelaire had already touched upon what later on Henri Bergson, the French philosopher, whose ideas had a strong impact on both the Cubists and Futurists alike, referred to as durée. As Michel Foucault has written;
Modernity is often characterized in terms of consciousness of the discontinuity of time: a break with tradition, a feeling of novelty, of vertigo in the face of the passing moment. And this is indeed what Baudelaire seems to be saying when he defines modernity as 'the ephemeral, the fleeting, the contingent.' But, for him, being modern does not lie in recognizing and accepting this perpetual movement; on the contrary, it lies in adopting a certain attitude with respect to this movement; and this deliberate, difficult attitude consists in recapturing something eternal that is not beyond the present instant, nor behind it, but within it.
Baudelaire had described the attitude of the modern man,
'Away he goes, hurrying, searching .... Be very sure that this man ... -- this solitary, gifted with an active imagination, ceaselessly journeying across the great human desert -- has an aim loftier than that of a mere flâneur, an aim more general, something other than the fugitive pleasure of circumstance. He is looking for that quality which you must allow me to call 'modernity.' ... He makes it his business to extract from fashion whatever element it may contain of poetry within history.'Modernity was often characterized in terms of consciousness of the discontinuity of time: a break with tradition, a feeling of novelty. Like Baudelaire, Marinetti believed modernity is the attitude that makes it possible to grasp the 'heroic' aspect of the present moment. It is not a phenomenon of sensitivity to the fleeting present. For Baudelaire, as for Marinetti, being modern implied a recapturing of something eternal and 'heroic' that lies within a present moment. The modern painter par excellence in Baudelaire's eyes, as Michel Foucault has described;
is that, just when the whole world is falling asleep, he begins to work, and he transfigures that world. His transfiguration does not entail an annulling of reality, but a difficult interplay between the truth of what is real and the exercise of freedom; 'natural' things become 'more than natural,' 'beautiful' things become 'more than beautiful,' and individual objects appear 'endowed with an impulsive life like the soul of their creator.' ...Baudelairean modernity is an exercise in which extreme attention to what is real is confronted with the practice of a liberty that simultaneously respects this reality and violates it.A Brief History of the Futurism Art Movement: Sing to the Love of Danger
Marinetti had introduced a novel conceptual practice in which polemical written manifestos accompanied, or even preceded, actual works of art. In February 1910, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini signed the Manifesto of the Futurist Painters, in which they wrote;
We will fight with all our might the fanatical, senseless and snobbish religion of the past, a religion encouraged by the vicious existence of museums. We rebel against that spineless worshiping of old canvases, old statues and old bric-a-brac, against everything which is filthy and worm-ridden and corroded by time. We consider the habitual contempt for everything which is young, new and burning with life to be unjust and even criminal.
|Guity Novin, Valentine de Saint-Point & Her Manifesto, 2011|
In early March 1912, Valentine de Saint-Point issued her Manifesto of the Futurist Woman, which was published in Berlin in German, in Der Sturm. She wrote:
Humanity is mediocre. The majority of women are neither superior nor inferior to the majority of men. They are all equal. They all merit the same scorn.
The whole of humanity has never been anything but the terrain of culture, source of the geniuses and heroes of both sexes. But in humanity as in nature there are some moments more propitious for such a flowering. In the summers of humanity, when the terrain is burned by the sun, geniuses and heroes abound.
We are at the beginning of a springtime; we are lacking in solar profusion, that is, a great
deal of spilled blood. Women are no more responsible than men for the way the really young, rich in sap and blood, are getting mired down.
It is absurd to divide humanity into men and women. It is composed only of femininity and masculinity. Every superman, every hero, no matter how epic, how much of a genius, or how powerful, is the prodigious expression of a race and an epoch only because he is composed at once of feminine and masculine elements, of femininity and masculinity: that is, a complete being.
And her manifesto was thus concluded;
Woman, for too long diverted into morals and prejudices, go back to your sublime instinct, to violence, to cruelty.
For the fatal sacrifice of blood, while men are in charge of wars and battles, procreate, and among your children, as a sacrifice to heroism, take Fate's part. Don't raise them for yourself, that is, for their diminishment, but rather, in a wide freedom, for a complete expansion.
Instead of reducing man to the slavery of those execrable sentimental needs, incite your sons and your men to surpass themselves.
You are the ones who make them. You have all power over them.
You owe humanity its heroes. Make them!
Futurists' graphic art, was truly ground-breaking in the reinvention of the notion of form in visual communication. Futurists virtually redefined the very notion of form. In response to the static convention of a balanced composition, they introduced the principles of dynamism and speed. Inspired by the philosophy of Henri Bergson, the Futurist formalism conveyed a conceptual representation of the principles of kinetic energy, duration, and simultaneity. They expressed a powerful energy by the disruption of forms, and by depiction of the traces of motion left in the memory. They superseded the old compositional balance with the movement that broke up forms, the “simultaneity” that opened them up to their surroundings. Theirs was a polysensorial transcription of experience, which explored new vistas and discovered fresh venues for experimentation. Using flexible forms and distending them in various dimensions, Futurism abandoned all the traditional canon of perspective in favour of the kinetic energy of the machine or of crowds.
Giacomo Balla was born in Turin in 1871. After finishing his studies he enrolled in the ’Accademia Albertina. He visited Paris in 1900-01 to study the exploration of light in the works of Post-impressionists, Seurat and Signac. Marinetti's ideas were particularly inspiring for Balla, who began to adopt the Futurist style after the publication of Futurists' manifesto in Le Figaro. Bella abandoned realistic painting, and began to explore the motion and, more specifically, the speed of racing automobiles. This led to an important series of studies in 1913–14. Using the theme of speed, he depicted traces of motion by dynamic sequencing of his composition. His curvilineal repetitive patterns represented the hectic pulse of modern life in its rhythmic throbbing of a mechanistic surrounding.
Balla remained an influential leader, during the second wave of Futurism in the post WWI era. His work gradually developed into study of geometric forms, as well as figurative representations. By the end of the decade he had distanced himself from the Futurist movement
|Giacomo Balla, Iniezione Di Futurismo , 1918|
Giacomo Balla, Vitesse d'une automobile + Lumière; Speeding car plus light, 1913, Stockholm, Moderna Musee
|Giacomo Balla, Vitesse d'une automobile ; Speeding car, 1913.|
|Giacomo Balla, Alberi Mutilati, Oil on Canvas, 1918|
Fortunato Depero was not one of the leading members Futurism movement, but perhaps he can be regarded as the most faithful adherent to the cause, whose work incorporated many of the futurism ideas particularly in relation to integration of various forms of art. He was born in Fondo in Trentino at Alto Adige when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After his training as a traditional craftsman, he tried to enroll but was rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, forcing him to go back to Fondo as a marble cutter's apprentice. In was in his trip to Florence in 1913 that Depero read and inspired by Marinetti's article about Futurism, published in Lacerba. Shortly after in that year he published his Spezzature–Impressioni: Segni e ritmi, a collection of his poetry, prose and illustrations, and he moved to Rome, where he met Marinetti in person at the Galleria Permanente Futurista, run by Giuseppe Sprovieri. Marinetti introduced him to the other fellow Futurists, with whom he participated in a joint exhibition at Permanente Futurista in the spring of 1914. In the July of that year his solo-exhibition was held at Trento, but was closed after few days due to the outbreak of the WWI. In 1915, Depero and Giacomo Balla wrote a manifesto entitled Ricostruzione futurista dell’universo or "Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe", in which they called for applying all kinds of media in art, for creation of dynamic ‘plastic complexes’ that would give new life to the world. Soon afterward he volunteered to go to the front and fight.
During the ‘second wave’ of Futurism, Depero reinvigorated the typographically Futurists texts such as Marinetti's experimental poetry or 'parole in libertà' mixed with cacophonous or 'bruitist' barrages of noise, which revolutionized typographic expression. Depero relied more on old fashioned type styles, but injected an exuberance bathed in a Mediterranean palate that introduced a playfully dynamic Futurist aesthetic into commercial and political advertising. He adamantly rejected classical types in favour of eccentric streamlined lettering that symbolised speed.
|Fortunato Depero, Il ciclista attraversa la città, 1945|
|Fortunato Depero, An ode to the 20th century. Magazine cover 1929|
|Fortunato Depero, Marcialottare, 1916, Free-word composition letter addressed to Marinetti|
In 1910, with his friends Boccioni and Russolo, Carlo Carrà met Marinetti, at a café at Porta Vittoria. According to Carrà
“Marinetti greeted us warmly. After a long analysis of the state of art here at home, we decided to publish a manifesto for young Italian artists urging them to shake themselves free of the stupor that was suffocating all higher aspirations. The next morning, Boccioni, Russolo and I met at a café at Porta Vittoria, near our homes, and eagerly threw down a draft of our appeal. Agreeing on the final text was much more laborious; the three of us worked on it all day, and that evening, together with Marinetti… we polished it off, had it signed by Bonzagni and Romani and brought it to the printer. Distributed in several thousand copies a few days later, that cry of bold, open rebellion against the artistic gray skies of our country had the impact of a violent electric shock... As far as I was concerned, the manifesto was a reaction of defense, but I was well aware that it also meant ostracism from conventional society...”In 1912 Carrà participated in the futurist exhibition at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune. However, the turning point came for him after the WWI errupted. He wrote in a magazine article in 1915,
'Even the mediocre people who make up the mass of humanity have realized that practical aims were leading them to consider ideals as an obstacle in life.'' Then, in letters, he rejected Futurism's frantic dynamism in favor of ''deliberate immobility,'' ''plastic simplicity'' and concreteness. Back in Paris, he delved into the study of Giotto, Paolo Uccello, Masaccio and Piero della Francesca. Carrà left Futurism to work with Giorgio de Chirico on the conception of "Metafisica," a new movement in modern art.
|Carlo Carra, The Red Horseman, 1912|
|Carlo Carrà, Guerrapittura (War-Painting), 1915. Guerrapittura, published shortly before Italy entered World War I in Spring 1915. This was the last Futurist work by Carrà.|
|Carlo Carrà, Interventionist Demonstration (Patriotic Holiday-Freeword Painting) (Manifestazione interventista [Festa patriottica-dipinto parolibero]), 1914|
Of all the futurists, Umberto Boccioni was the one and only who really lived and died the true life of a Futurist. He was the movement's technical theorist, and perhaps the most accomplished artist. Born in Reggio Calabria in 1882, he was trained as a classical artist and a graphic designer when he met Giacomo Balla in Rome at the age of 19 and joined him in his study of divisionist style. Then, in Paris he dabbed for a short while with impressionism, post-impressionism and cubism.
Although Marinetti is regarded as the founder the movement, it was Boccioni who led the Futurism artistic direction. He produced seminal letters, manifestos and aesthetic declarations on Futurist art. Inspired by the philosophy of Henry Bergson, he had a strong belief in the potency and reliability of intuition, and raw emotions as much as he believed in the objective reality of modern life. Boccioni was obsessed with capturing of the incessant flux of life in the motion of crowds, the roaring flight of airplanes, the boisterous sound of industries, and bustling hum-drum of fast life in modern cities with their trains and cars sweeping through the landscape, which he represented in symbolic, almost mythical dimensions. His approach was in contrast to that of the Cubists, who tried to incorporate Bergson ideas of movement of consciousness in the multifaceted patterns of time and space.
In 1910, Boccioni led the movement in drawing up and publishing the Technical Manifesto of the Futurist movement, promoting the representation of the symbols of modern technology — fury, force, and flux. His own artistic technique, depicting intermittently faceted flexible human figures and curvilinear patterns, projecting a balletic, vigorous intensity was quite uncommon, and was quite distinct relative to the mechanical kinetics of the Futurist depiction of motion. In 1911, after the Futurist exhibition of Paris, Boccioni accepted the advice of Severini who lived in Paris and recommended that he and Carrà should study the paintings of Braque and Picasso in the Kahnweiler Gallery, as well as those of Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger and Fernand Léger at the Salon d’automne. When Boccioni returned to Milan, he applied Cubism-inspired crystallography to the second version of his Stati d'animo. He was particularly influenced by Robert Delaunay’s, Eiffel Tower, (1911) and so completed his The Street Enters the House, (1911) in a Cubist manner. But his adoption of a cubist sentiment for the fragmented, diffident representation of reality was in conflict with his dedication to the cult heroic nude, seared in his soul during his classical trainig. He rose above the ideological sloganeering of Futurism to study the intriguing features of human drama in modern life, in works such as the States of Mind series, or The City Rises. Boccioni died young in the first world war at the age 33.
|Umberto Boccioni, Riot in the Gallery,1909. This was Boccioni's first major Futurist painting. But, its technique is very close to Pointillism, and only its violent subject matter and dynamic composition makes it a Futurist painting.|
|Umberto Boccioni, The City Rises, 1910–1. This painting is regarded by some as a quintessential Futurist painting due to its representation of dynamism, motion, and speed.|
|Umberto Boccioni, Charge of the Lancers, 1915|
Tempera and collage on pasteboard
|Umberto Boccioni, States of Mind, Those Who Stay, 1911. |
Oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York
|Umberto Boccioni, States of Mind, Those Who Go, 1911. |
Oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gino Severini was trained under Giacomo Balla in pointillism, and in 1906 traveled to Paris to learn more about Seurat's style. Four years later, Raoul Dufy introduced him to scientific Divisionism, and without a doubt he became the most French of Italian artists. According to him; "The towns I am most fond of are Cortone and Paris - I was born physically in the first and both intellectually and spiritually in the second."
Severini signed the Futurist Manifesto in 1910, and joined the movement in 1911. Over the 1914-15 period Marinetti encourgaed him to produce a series of paintings on the war, which he did in paintings such as Train Blindé, Armoured Train, painted in 1915, the year Italy entered World War I. Although, due to his poor health, he could not be enlisted in the army, Severini who could see from his studio an aerial view of the Denfert-Rochereau station where armored trains carryed soldiers, supplies, and weapons towards front was fascinated with the spectacle. He witnessed the German aircrafts bombarding Paris. Believing in Futurists' motto that "War is a motor for art," Severini believed the Great War could generate a new Italian identity—one of military and cultural power. However, he abandoned Futurism in 1916 and joind the Cubist movement.
|Gino Severini,Train Blindé (Armored Train in Action), 1915|
Oil on canvas, Oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York
|Gino Severini, Cannoni in azione (Guns in Action), 1915.|
|Gino Severini "Printemps à Montmartre," 1909.|
Born in Modena, Italy, in 1894. Prampolini studied in Lucca and Turin, Italy, and with Giacomo Balla, whose hard-edged geometric works was one of his early influences. Balla introduced him to the Futurist artists and he joined their movement. Prampolini exhibited with them in Rome and Prague. Among the Futurists, Prampolini was one of the most experiment oriented in his technique and materials. He tested a number of different methods and used a combination of materials to create his unique style. He wrote a number of manifestos in painting and theater including his 1913 "Cromofonia: Il colore dei suoni" -- Chromophony: The Colors of Sounds. He met Tristan Tzara in Rome in 1916, and took part in the international Dadaist exhibition in Zurich the same year. In 1925, he traveled to Paris to work with Severini stdying machines motions. Prampolini turned to Abstrac painting later on. He was also active as set and costume designer for a dance company he founded in 1925, building designer (pavilions in Turin and Milan), publisher (Stile Futurista)and decorative work, including stained glass and mosaics for the Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari in Rome, and the Milan Triennial.
|Enrico Prampolini, Cover designed for Noi: Rivista d'Arte Futurista June 1917.|
|Enrico Prampolini designed the newspaper Futurismo, edited by Filippo Marinetti and Mino Somenzi (1933). The futurists idealized Mussolini in many of their publications.|
|Enrico Prampolini, Broom, vol.3 no.3, 1922,|
|Enrico Prampolini, Portrait of Marinetti, 1925|
Enrico Prampolini was arguably the most graphic design oriented artist among the Futurists. His graphic design projects were audaciously innovative and ingenious, anticipating many of the later developments in the postmodernism, and Dadaist movements. In fact, many of Dadaists graphic design ideas were inspired by him. Prampolini in a letter to Tzara of 4th August 1917, explicitly mentioned that there was a close similarity between Dadaism movement and Futurism. He wrote: "we, with Marinetti and my poor dear friend Bocconini and the other, have said and done what you are saying and doing now". In another latter to Tzara, 19 October 1917, he suggested, that the two groups should exchange their magazines to be sold in Rome and Zurich stating; "we can do many things together if we continue to remain in good communications." In fact the Italian Futurists regarded Zurich Dadaism "Futurisme allemandise".
|Marcel Duchamp, the Nu descendant l'escalier n° 2, 1912|
Marcel Duchamp's the Nu descendant l'escalier n° 2 , or Nude, Descending a Staircase (No. 2) which he himself presented as a “Cubist interpretation of a Futurist formula” was an artistic attempt to portray the transcendental dimension of motion in space and time. Duchamp filled almost the entire surface of his canvas with a series of twenty different static flat forms that were extracted from the disintegration of the motion of a descending nude. Duchamp borrowed from cubism elements like multifaceted partition of the robotized nude and their monochromatic tonality, and tried to introduce the kinetic dimension of her motion in relation to her surrounding space. Duchamp was also influenced by Étienne-Jules Marey. In fact, when Pierre Cabanne asked him if there was any influence of cinema on this painting, he responded, "of course there was". He mentioned that after seeing in the illustrations of a book by Mary, how the people do the fencing or galloping horses, he got the idea for the execution of the "Nude Descending a Staircase." The painting caused an uproar at the International Exhibition of Modern Art held at the National Guard 69th Regiment Armory in New York in 1913. Almost everybody thought it to be thoroughly beyond one's grasp. It became subject of ridicule in the media. The American Art News offered a ten dollar reward to the first reader who could "find the lady" within the jumble of interlocking planes and jagged lines, and newspaper cartoonists had a field day with the painting, lampooning it with such titles as "The Rude Descending the Staircase (Rush Hour at the Subway)" and the memorable "Explosion in a Shingle Factory." When Duchamp learned of the scandal, he was delighted, and the widespread notoriety that the painting brought him encouraged the French artist to move to New York two years later.
In their next manifesto on April 11, 1910, Futurists implicitly criticized Cubists, and particularly Pablo Picasso, who had not yet joined the Cubists. They wrote:
Against the superficial and elementary archaism founded upon flat tints, and which, by imitating the linear technique of the Egyptians, reduces painting to a powerless synthesis, both childish and grotesque.
Against the nude in painting, as nauseous and as tedious as adultery in literature.
Their reference to the Nude in painting, was directly aimed at Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). Their assaults on “archaism” and “the linear technique of the Egyptians” were aimed, at the flattened circle of women in that painting and the the profile pose of ancient Egyptian art with a carved, wooden face derived from tribal masks that Picasso had seen at the Paris Ethnographical, and his intense interest in “primitive” arts. The modernity upheld by Futurist painting was suuposed to be a living art that
draws its life from the surrounding environment. Our forebears drew their artistic inspiration from a religious atmosphere which fed their souls; in the same way we must breathe in the tangible miracles of contemporary life—the iron network of speedy communications which envelops the earth, the transatlantic liners, the dreadnoughts, those marvelous flights which furrow our skies, the profound courage of our submarine navigators and the spasmodic struggle to conquer the unknown. How can we remain insensible to the frenetic life of our great cities and to the exciting new psychology of night-life; the feverish figures of the bon viveur, the cocette, the apache and the absinthe drinker?
Notwithstanding of their initial dislike of cubism, after October 1911, the Italian futurists began to adopt cubist's techniques. This was reciprocated by Cubist artists who after the publication of the Manifesto of the Futurist Painters in Le Figaro, and seeing the work of Italian futurists in the Parisian studios and the galleries, such as the Bernheim-Jeune Cie Gallery, began to adopted Futurist features. However, the Futurist coloring palette, which was inspired by Impressionism and the Divisionism of Georges Seurat was radically different from that of Cubists, who were opposed to Impressionistic coloring schemes. However, after their rapprochement the Cubist colors turned more vivid, while their ocher and gray hues began to appear in the Futurists work. Their exhibition on February 1912 at the Bernheim-Jeune Cie Gallery was a turning point in the history of Futurism. It was for the first time that the Italian Futurists were exhibiting together in Paris. Being true to the spirit of their Manifesto their paintings depicted the pulse and the energy of modern cities, with their railway stations, dynamic industries and markets in geometric spaces where crowds and machines intermingled. Under the banner of Marinetti’s manifesto, they stressed their militancy against the sentimentality of Romanticism by calling artists to “kill moonlight!”. They depicted cities by night illuminated by the electric street lamps, and portrayed the women of future on their path to become “electric dolls”, as in painting by Marinetti.
The 1912, Paris exhibition, was a serious challenge to Cubists by Futurists. A challenge to gain clout, for prominence, and for dominance in the cultural scenes of Europe. They astounded the French intelligentsia with their ability to combine the latest style with their own particular concerns. The French 'artworld' was not amused, they found their attitudes asinine; and Guillaume Apollinaire who was deeply offended by their ‘opulence’ in contrast to the impoverished Cubists wrote:
'This is the most dangerous kind of painting imaginable. It will inevitably lead the Futurist painters to become mere illustrators.'The Cubist artists exhibition in the Salon de la Section d’Or , in October 1912, was a French response that showed the divergence of the Cubism trends, in part due to influence of Futurism. Apollinaire, who at the Salon d’Automne in Paris had anointed Cubism as a movement, to be protected from contamination by crazed Italians, in his lecture Le Cubisme écartelé given at the Section d'Or on the 11th of October, later added to his book Les Peintres Cubistes, talked about a " l'écartèlement du cubisme" or a break-up of Cubism. He was wary of any artistic system that might restrict the artist imagination with its codified rules, and was trying to shelter the infant Cubism from surging Futurism. However, the lines were already getting crossed.
It was obvious, that in the both sides the painters were seeking a synthesis between Cubism and Futurism. Cubists became attracted to the scenes of dancing and sports in which movement is a central component, Futurists became interested in still lifes. Umberto Boccioni began to explore the primitivism of Cubists. Gino Severini who acted as an artistic link between Paris and Milan, composed a still-life using using a page from the Florentine review Lacerba, the official review of the Futurist movement, which was a reminiscent the Cubist experiments with papier collé.
Henri Bergson, the philosopher who spoke about time as durée, which suggested time not as a chain of episodes, but as a continuous dimension of consciousness, and who looked to Art for a way of handling the temps passé of frozen time frames, attracted both Cubists and Futurists. Bergson's key concept of time as duration according to which life is subjectively experienced as a continuous forward movement in time, with the past flowing into the present and the present merging into the future, became the main theme of their artistic research. They related this sense of time to multiple perspective—and to Bergson’s insistence on the sensitivity of our consciousness towards both time and space, which both are simultaneously present in the mind, and in the consciousness, which is moving through them. One’s present consciousness is a state of being constantly in flux, but indivisible with the whole.
These Bergsonian ideas were incorporated in Cubists' concept of simultaneity a notion rooted in their understanding that thoroughly challenged the divide between space and time. Similarly, Futurist artists like Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini and Carlo Carrà were also interested the Bergsonian inspired techniques of simultaneity. Marcel Duchamp, who was not worried much about the styles and schools, began to work in series of Cubo-Futurist works, in the 1911-12 period. His friends judged these paintings, with such classical themes like chess players, nudes, family portraits iconoclastic, but like Futurists, he was interested in studying the spatiality of the perception of movement, the spatiality of simultaneity, and in particular the spatiality of abstracting traces of movement. Later, in l914, at the Salon des Independantes, Apollinaire could comment that the Futurists, now frequenting Paris, were more influenced than ever by the innovators of Paris, such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
At the same time, Marinetti, Luigi Russolo, were the original creators of Happening, the term that was coined by the American artist Allan Kaprow in the middle of the last century, and was referring to an event that combined elements of painting, poetry, music, dance, and theater and staged them as a live action. Later on, these improvisatory “Futurist Evenings,” which often ended with the throwing tomatoes or eggs at the “actors,” were imitated by Dadaists.
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Berghaus, Günter. International futurism in arts and literature, Walter de Gruyter, 2000
Cabanne, Pierre. Entretiens avec Marcel Duchamp, Paris, 1967
Foucault, Michel. "What is Enlightenment ?" ("Qu'est-ce que les Lumières ?"), in Rabinow, P. (éd.), The Foucault Reader, New York, Pantheon Books, 1984,
Rainey, Lawrence S., Christine Poggi, Laura Wittman, Futurism: an anthology, Yale University Press, 2009
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Great article - thanks.ReplyDelete