Reply To: Futurism

  • Encyclios

    May 16, 2023 at 1:36 PM

    Second futurism

    The term, recently acquired by critics, covers a period that begins with the end of the World War, around 1918, and continues until after 1930. The phenomenon of Second Futurism has been particularly studied in the last thirty years, through a series of exhibitions (in Turin at the Galleria Notizie starting in 1957, and at the gam in 1962, in Rome with the exhibition of Prampolini in 1961 at Gnam, in Bassano in 1970 with the retrospective of Depero, and subsequently on numerous occasions).

    Under the name of “movement” are brought together extremely complex cultural phenomena in the events of Italian art in those years: the insertion, in the cultural fabric of late Futurism, of a European culture of purist and constructivist brand, but not without references to the Dada spirit of which Prampolini was an important intermediary.

    Alongside some representatives of the old futurists (Balla, Marinetti) begins to work in the early postwar period a large group of artists who represent the second generation of the movement, inserted in the strand of futurism in a moment of arrest compared to the research of previous years. With the disappearance of two of the dominant personalities (Boccioni and Sant’Elia) and the departure of Carrà and Severini from the group, the compactness of the initial line-up gave way to a more complex web of research. The centers themselves multiply: in addition to Milan, Rome works around Balla a lively group of artists: Crali, Dottori, Tato, Prampolini and the companion of Marinetti, Benedetta. Turin becomes an important center; there works a large group of artists: Fillia, Alimandi, Oriani, Franco Costa, the sculptor Mino Rosso and the architect of Bulgarian origin Nicolay Diulgheroff.

    Also in Turin, a series of important exhibitions starting in 1925 acted as a catalyst for the movement, exhibitions that culminated in the famous pavilion of Futurist Architecture designed by Prampolini for the 1928 International Exhibition in Turin. After the precedent set by the manifesto Ricostruzione futurista dell’Universo (Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe), launched in 1915 by Balla and Depero, the researches of the second Futurists are subdivided, even if with a margin of elasticity, into two periods: the first, conditioned by the post-cubist, purist and constructivist researches that came especially from France, goes from 1918 to about 1928.

    Artists such as those mentioned above, and others such as Korompay and Marasco are part of it. In a second time instead the influence of surrealism acted within the movement as a component for a recovery of the image in an absurd and fantastic: in addition to Prampolini and Depero who were the main interpreters, other artists such as Munari, Tullio d’Albisola Caviglioni or Farfa represent it. What unites the participants of the Second Futurism, however, with respect to previous research, is the search for a recomposition of reality, a recomposition that sometimes went towards rigorous abstract reconstructions of neoplastic origin, but more often in the sense of a recovery of the image-object that becomes part of the repertoire of the Second Futurism.

    The myth of modernity and technology, dear to the first generation of Futurists, finds its realization in the object-emblem of “modernity”: the machine, but also the man-robot. The mechanism of the absurd, the randomness of a perfectly “technical” universe come to join – and often replace – the apologetic element. The premises posed by Marinetti, when in the Manifesto of Variety Theater (1913) he theorized the liberating and cultural value of laughter, find their perfect expression in this automatic world. The Manifesto dell’Arte Meccanica (Mechanical Art Manifesto) dates back to 1922 (published in 1923 by Prampolini, Paladini and Pannaggi in “Noi”, II, n. 2): in these years Severini, Depero and Sironi waved their tubiform robot-men in their canvases; while Balla reconstructed his luminous universe in “spring landscapes”, similar to garish plastic toys, and Depero staged his “mechanical ballets” (Milan, 1924). A strand of disturbing art fantastique was born right in the heart of a universe born of comforting technological certainties.

    The same universe, however, also produced aeropainting, for which a manifesto was launched in 1929: a direct product of Marinetti’s theories, which still acted especially on the Roman group, the Manifesto of Futurist Aeropainting was signed by Balla, Benedetta, Depero, Dottori, Fillia, Marinetti, Prampolini, Rosso, Somenzi and Tato. Aeropainting, “expression of cosmic idealism”, was intended to be the glorification of the greatest symbol of modernity, the airplane, and, through it, an apotheosis that took on mystical tones to glorify the Spirituality of the aviator or that of symbolic characters of the regime (The Builder). Along this path, touching more and more closely the clouds of mystical celebrations, in 1930 Marinetti offered Mussolini what remained in his hands of Futurism by launching the Manifesto of Futurist Sacred Art, published by him and Fillia in “Oggi e Domani” (Today and Tomorrow); while in October 1932 the Futurist Aeropainting Exhibition was held in the Milanese Pesaro gallery, with a text by Prampolini in the catalog.