from the pages of
Futurism ( Thames & Hudson World of Art)Carline Tisdall and Angelo Bozzolla
Filippo Tomasso Marinetti was an expert with newspapers: the coverage that he secured for Futurism both in Italy and abroad was amazing.
During one of the visits to London newspaper claiming to be a war reporter fresh from the Turkish front. An article was duly commissioned. Half way through, the action suddenly switched from Turkish wars to the futurists' activities in London.
Often and under pressure from Marinetti, the manifesto was produced before any tangible evidence existed of the innovation it announced.
The function of the manifesto was to create excitement and polemic, and it was an ideal medium for that.; it was cheap and quick to produce, could be run off in vast editions, distributed on the streets and sent out by posts so that reverberations were felt from Japan to United States. It gave the impression that Futurist movement was a huge organisation encompassing all the disciplines. And to reinforce the idea of Futurism spread throughout the world.
Marinetti gained enormous publicity from trials for obscenity that followed the publication in 1910 of his novel Mafarka Futurista' the ofending item being Mafarka's eleven meter long penis which he wrapped around himself when he slept. Marinetti was acquitted at the first trial, given a two-and -a- half- month suspended sentence at the second, and had the same suspended sentence confirmed at the third. this experience was turned to advantage whenever a charge emerged out of a futurist evening.
All things move, all things run, all things are rapidly changing. A profile is never motionless before our eyes.but it constantly appears and disappears. on account of the persistency of an image on the retina, moving objects constantly multiply themselves; their from changes, like rapid vibrations, in their mid career. Thus a running Horse has not four legs, but twenty, and their movements are triangular.
All is conventional in Art. Nothing is absolute in painting. What was truth for the painters of yesterday is but a falsehood today. We declare, for instance, that a portrait must not be like a sitter, and that the painter carries within himself the landscapes which he would fix upon his canvas.
'To paint a human figure you must not paint it; you must render the whole of its surrounding atmosphere.
' Space no longer exists; the street pavement, soaked by rain beneath the glare of electric lamps, becomes immensely deep and gapes to the very centre of the earth. Thousands of miles divide us from the sun; yet the house in front of us fits into the solar disc.
' Who can still believe the opacity of our bodies, since our sharpened and multiplied sensitivity has already penetrated the obscure manifestations of the medium? Why should we forget in our creations the doubled power of our sight, capable of giving results analogous to those of the X rays? ......
' The sixteen people around you in a rolling motor bus are in turn and at the same time one, ten, four, three, they are motionless and change places; they come and go, bound into the street, are suddenly swallowed up by the sunshine, then come back and sit before you,like persistent symbols of universal vibration.
'How often have we seen upon the cheek of a person with whom we are talking and the horse which passes at the end of the street?
'Our bodies penetrate the sofas upon which we sit, and the sofas penetrate our bodies. The motor bus rushes into the house it passes, and in their turn the houses throw themselves upon the motor bus and are blended with it.
Futurist admiration seems to have been influenced by articles published in La Voce in 1909 by Ardengo Soffici; ' The movements of a figure must not stop with its contour.... The intensity of the play of values and the protrusions of lines of the work should impel it into space. spreading out into infinity the way an electric wave emitted by a well constructed machine flies out to rejoin the eternal force of the universe.