Powerful Examples of Futurism from Tate Modern Exhibition

This exhibition is the first large-scale showing of Futurism in Britain in 30 years. The movement set out to modernise Italian art and social attitudes and its influence spread across Europe and beyond, revolutionising the response to the dynamism of modern life. Its master of ceremonies was the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and this exhibition celebrates the centenary of his publication of The Founding and First Manifesto of Futurism in 1909.

A core group of artists — Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini — pledged its enthusiastic adherence to Futurism and abandoned the art and culture from the past. The Futurists embraced a celebration of modern technology, speed, and city life and they often painted urban and industrial scenes. The fascination and experience of cars, trams and airplanes is frequently represented in their subject matter together with the use of bold and strident colours on the canvas.

Bringing together works from the groundbreaking Futurist exhibition of 1912 that began at the Galerie Bernheim in Paris and traveled to the Sackville Gallery in London and onwards across Europe, this exhibition will reveal the original impact of that show. The effect of Futurism on the Parisian avant-gardes was profound, and this show will examine the nature of that exchange as Cubism and Futurism became inextricably linked. It will also show the impact of the movement in Britain and Russia as it found a response in Vorticism and Russian Futurism.

Artists who will feature include Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Sonia Delaunay, Robert Delaunay, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Natalya Goncharova, Liubov Popova, David Bomberg, Wyndham Lewis, C.R.W. Nevinson and Jacob Epstein.
Highlights of the exhibition will include: Umberto Boccioni’s sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913; Carlo Carrà’s Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, 1911; and responses to the challenge represented by Futurism in works such as Delaunay’s Eiffel Tower. 1911; Jacob Epstein’s Torso in Metal from the Rock Drill, 1913-14 and Picasso’s Pipe, Glass, Bottle of Vieux Marc, 1914 onto which he pasted the Futurist periodical, Lacerba.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. It is curated at Tate Modern by Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, Tate Modern, assisted by Amy Dickson, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition was devised by Didier Ottinger of Centre Pompidou, Paris where the show opened in October 2008.  It traveled to Rome in February 2009 where it was curated by Ester Coen, a leading authority on the Italian avant-garde artists.

Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913, cast 1972, © Tate. Photo: Tate Photography.
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, The Arrival, 1913, Oil on canvas, 762 x 635 mm, © Tate. Presented by the artist’s widow 1956, Photo: Tate Photography.
Gino Severini, The Hospital Train, 1915, © Stedelijk Museum, Oil on canvas, 117 x 90 cm.

Sir Jacob Epstein, Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill, 1913-14, Bronze.

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