Italian Futurism

At Aneli's Gallery has opened a new exhibition with several interesting artists. The sculptures of Myhns Mayo especially caught me. They are well done rebuilds or inspired by works of the Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero. Especially in the last time there has been several works which has been inspired by him and the more I saw his works, the more I ask myself why I know almost nothing about Depero, which was obviously an important artist.

The answer came very fast after a bit of digging: The Italian Futurism was very close to fascism.
The movement has started by the manifesto, written 1909 by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.


1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.

2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.

3. Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist.

4. We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath... a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.

5. We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled along its orbit.

6. The poet must spend himself with warmth, glamour and prodigality to increase the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.

7. Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.

8. We are on the extreme promontory of the centuries! What is the use of looking behind at the moment when we must open the mysterious shutters of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We are already living in the absolute, since we have already created eternal, omnipresent speed.

9. We want to glorify war - the only cure for the world - militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.

10. We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.

11. We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt; the multi-colored and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals: the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of aeroplanes whose propeller sounds like the flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds. It is in Italy that we are issuing this manifesto of ruinous and incendiary violence, by which we today are founding Futurism, because we want to deliver Italy from its gangrene of professors, archaeologists, tourist guides and antiquaries. Italy has been too long the great second-hand market. We want to get rid of the innumerable museums...

I found this manifesto rather shocking and understood why in Germany after WW2 nobody dared to admire members of that group, as good as their art might have been. And I also understand that the Italian artists needed a radical cut to their huge artistic heritage to land in contemporary art. But with topics like fight against feminism and glorification of violence, the manifesto was and is much more dangerous. Depero even wrote some fascist lyrics.

At the end are remaining some questions, I still have no answer for: The manifesto itself demands a political role of art and art cannot be seen independent from social reality.  What, if we cannot accept their opinion? Is it OK to admire their art? But on the other side: Is it OK to ignore an outstanding artist just because of his opinion? And do we really want to have artists which don't express what they think instead?

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