7 July - 12 November 2001
This exhibition analyzed the various aspects of Futurism, one of the most complex and ambitious of all the movements that played a part in the world of the artistic avant-garde in the first half of the twentieth century. Over 400 works and a wealth of documentation reveal the extraordinary contributions made by this movement from its foundation with the 1909 manifesto, until the death of its creator and propagator, Marinetti, in 1944. It is a story which developed over more than three decades, characterized by the idea of the "futurist reconstruction of the universe", which the exhibition documented through paintings, sculptures, photography, furniture, design, fashion, literature, theatre, and cinema, and with a glance at communication (advertising, radio, newsreels) which played a central role in spreading the movement's ideas.
The exhibition was divided into two broad parts. The first part, devoted to the years from 1909 to 1918, the heroic and best-known years of the futurist period, was previously staged at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, under the direction of Norbert Nobis, and came to Rome with a few variations. The second, devoted to the developments of Futurism up to 1944, and to the various fields of futurist creativity, was specifically designed for the Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
To provide a systematic interpretation of the vast futurist panorama, the curator of the Rome exhibition, Enrico Crispolti, arranged the works within four large sections: "Before Futurism (Prima del Futurismo)", "The affirmation of Futurism in Italy and Europe (L'affermazione del Futurismo in Italia e in Europa)", "The nineteen hundreds (Gli anni Dieci)", "The development of the new avant-gardes. From the Twenties to the Forties. (Gli svolgimenti delle nuove avanguardie. Gli anni Venti-Quaranta)", and "The futurist reconstruction of the universe (La ricostruzione futurista dell'universo)". The last section, which testified to the futurist attention to the different languages and the different areas of daily experience, was, in its turn, structured in eight sections: "Architecture, setting (Architettura, ambientazione)", "Furniture and objects, protodesign and design (Arredo e oggettistica, protodesign e design)", "Cabaret, theatre, cinema (Cabaret, teatro, cinema)", "Fashion (Moda)", "Poetic representation, poetry and prose (Visualizzazione poetica, poesia e prosa)", "Photography and photomontage (Fotografia e fotomontaggio)", "Advertising and publishing graphics (Grafica pubblicitaria ed editoriale)", "Postal art (Arte postale)". As well as the best-known works of leading figures in the movement such as Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrà, Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini, and Luigi Russolo together with Mario Sironi, Gerardo Dottori, Enrico Prampolini, Fortunato Depero, Fillia, Ottone Rosai, Nicolay Diugheroff, Tato Julius Evola and others, the exhibition provided a broad exploration of figures of considerable interest who are less well-known to the general public, including Ernesto Thayaht, Marisa Mori, Regina, Renato Di Bosso, Tullio Crali, Antonio Marasco and others.
Works were loaned to the exhibition by the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musèe d'Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris, the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, and the Musei Civici in Milan. The cultural association, Futur-ism, which brings together important Italian collectors of futurist works, also participated in the initiative.
Exhibition curated by Enrico Crispolti, in collaboration with Norberto Nobis for the section devoted to the first ten years of the movement.
Mounted by Lucio Turchetta.
Catalogue edited by Enrico Crispolti, with texts by the curator and Norbert Nobis, Ingo Bartsch, Francesco Perfetti, Claudia Salaris, Christoph Hoch, Ilaria Schiaffini, Ezio Godoli, Luca Quattrocchi, Renato Nicolini, Gabriella Belli, Mario Verdone, Giovanni Lista, Gino Agnese, Nico Stringa and Massimo Duranti, documentation edited by Arianna Mercanti and Ilaria Schiaffini, published by Edizioni Gabriele Mazzotta, Milan 2001.