Depero i la reconstrucció futurista de l'univers

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Depero i la reconstrucció futurista de l'univers

Artists at the vanguard can also have fun. It wasn’t all exploration, experimentation, plastic asceticism or incomprehensible quagmires. No sir. There were artists, like Fortunato Depero, who took their imagination to a place of power and, once there, instead of worshiping it, played with it until it excited the senses as if they were up to their eyeballs with caffeine or cocaine or whatever other jolt-inducer you can think of.

Most 20th-century avant-garde artistic movements have a literary origin. This was the case of ‘Futurism’, a word borrowed by Marinetti from the poet Gabriel Alomar and proclaimed to the four winds in February 1909 on the cover of the newspaper ‘Le Figaro’. Marinetti’s Futurism was the ultimate Romantic movement. A Romanticism that did not suffer fools. It was to snuff out the moonlight, burn museums and divert the course of rivers to flood libraries. The weight of cultural poignancy prevented access to Italy. A nickel car engine was more beautiful than the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’.

Futurist painting came about in Paris in 1912. In 1913, a young Depero met his heroes: Marinetti and the painters Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla. In 1915, together with Balla, Depero published the manifesto ‘Ricostruzione futurista dell’universo’, which set out to destroy the boundaries between different artistic disciplines and carry Futurism to every corner of life. Long live the power of imagination! And from that comes this exhibition, 'Depero and the Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe' – the first of Depero’s work on Iberian soil, and also the first of Futurism.

Depero’s work takes up half of the exhibition, while the other half is occupied by numerous manifestos and photographs, documentations, a sculpture here and there, and many paintings by the masters of this movement: Ardengo Soffici and Severini – the two most ‘Frenchified’ of the group – Carlo Carra, Boccioni and Balla, in addition to architectural projects by Sant'Elia and Mario Chiattone, and some other minor pieces. All of it makes this exhibition essential, if not obligatory.

As for Depero’s work, his best 15 years will be covered, from 1915 to 1930, when he returned from a stay in New York. Along the way, numerous colourful paintings, reconstructive but very plastic, appealing to adults as well as children; theatrical figurines; and a series of superlative advertising works, such as the Campari wine campaign. Depero knew how to turn aggressive Futurism into something as delicious as a red aperitif.

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