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Not to be confused with Futurology.
Horizontal Volumes by Umberto Boccioni, 1912.

Futurism was the modern art movement which started in Italy circa 1908 - 1912; The Futurist artists wanted to express dynamic and hectic by all movements of modern city life. Color-divisionism was their favorite painting technique.

Quotes on Futurism[edit]

Sorted chronologically, by date of the quote
Natalia Goncharova The Cyclist. 1913.
Gino Severini, 1913
The violin by Popova, 1915.
Marinetti, 1915
Jug on a table by Popova, 1915
Brooklyn Bridge, 1919-20 by Joseph Stella

1905 - 1915[edit]

  • O my brother Futurists! All of you, look at yourselves!... In the name of that Human Pride we so adore, I proclaim that the hour is nigh when men with broad temples and steel chins will give birth magnificently, with a single trust of their bulging will, to giants with flawless gestures.
    • Filippo Marinetti, quote of the founder of Futurism, from the 'Preface' of his novel Mafraka, le Futuriste 1909; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 313, note 15.
  • On 11 October 1908, having worked for six years at my international magazine Poesia, in an attempt to free the Italian lyrical genius that was under sentence of death from its traditional and commercial fetters, I suddenly felt that articles, poetry and controversies were no longer enough. It was absolutely crucial to switch methods, get out into the streets, lay siege to theaters, and introduce the fisticuffs into the artistic struggle... My Italian blood raced faster when my lips coined out loud the word FUTURISM.
    It was the new formula of Action-Art and a code of mental health. It was a youthful and innovative banner, anti-traditional, optimistic, heroic and dynamic, that had to be hoisted over the ruins of all attachment to the past.
    • Filippo Marinetti, quote of the founder of Futurism, from 'Guerra sola igiene del mundo', in Edizione Futuriste di Poesia', Milan 1915; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 21.
  • With our enthusiastic adherence to Futurism, we will:
  1. Destroy the cult of the past, the obsession with the ancients, pedantry and academic formalism.
  2. Totally invalidate all kinds of imitation.
  3. Elevate all attempts at originality, however daring, however violent.
  4. Bear bravely and proudly the smear of 'madness' with which they try to gag all innovators.
  5. Regard art critics as useless and dangerous.
  6. Rebel against the tyranny of words: 'Harmony' and 'good taste' and other loose expressions which can be used to destroy the works of Rembrandt, Goya, Rodin…
  7. Sweep the whole field of art clean of all themes and subjects which have been used in the past.
  8. Support and glory in our day-to-day world, a world which is going to be continually and splendidly transformed by victorious Science.
The dead shall be buried in the earth's deepest bowels!
    • Quote from the first Manifesto of Futurist Painters, 11 February 1910; Original: "Manifesto dei pittori futuristi." 11 Febbraio 1911 at gutenberg.org p. 24. published by the Futurist artists Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini. Translated by Roberto Brain, in: Documents of 20th Century Art: Futurist Manifestos. Robert, R.W. Brain et al. (eds.), New York: Viking Press, 1973. pp. 24-27
  • The gesture which we would reproduce on canvas shall no longer be a fixed moment in universal dynamism. It shall simply be the dynamic sensation itself. Indeed, all things move, all things run, all things are rapidly changing... We would at any price re-enter into life.
  • Our bodies penetrate the sofas upon which we sit and the sofas penetrate our bodies. The motorbus rushes into the houses which it passes, and in their turn the houses throw themselves upon the bus and are blended with it.
    • Manifesto of Futurist Painters, April 1910; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 64.
  • I address myself to the young. They alone will have to listen to me, they alone will be able to understand me. Some people are born already old, drooling specters from the past, cryptograms tumid with poisons: to them, no words or ideas except a single injunction: the end.
  • The street enters the house.
    • Umberto Boccioni's quote is the title of one of his most Futurist paintings, he painted in 1911 - expressing the core dynamic of Futurism.
  • At my arrival [in Paris], Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism were in full swing. There was in the air the glamour of a battle, the holy battle raging for the assertion of a new truth. My youth plunged full in it.
    • Joseph Stella (1911); quoted in: Judith Zilczer (1983) Joseph Stella: : The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection, p. 10
  • If we paint the phases of a riot, the crowd bustling with uplifted fists and the noisy onslaughts of cavalry are translated upon the canvas in sheaves of lines corresponding with all the conflicting forces, following the general laws of violence of the picture.. .These force-lines must encircle and involve the spectator so that he will in a manner be forced to struggle himself with the persons in the picture [new initiated concept of Futurism].
    • Umberto Boccioni's quote from 'Les exposants au public' - exh. Cat. Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, February 1912, p. 8
  • [Futurism’s] ..superficial expression of velocity, the aeroplane, the racing-car and so on, is but a weak expression of the inner velocity of thought compared to which the velocity of radium represents nothing but inertia.. ..The mimetic expression of velocity (whatever its form may be: the aeroplane, the automobile, and so on) is diametrically opposed to the character of painting, the supreme origin of which is to be found in inner life.
    • Theo van Doesburg, in the Dutch art-magazine: 'Eenheid' (Dutch, for Unity) no. 127, 9 November 1912; as quoted in Theo van Doesburg, Joost Baljeu, Studio Vista, London 1974, p. 16
  • The commitment I have made [by a sculpture Boccioni was making] is terrible and the plastic means appear and disappear at the moment of implementation. It’s terrible.. ..And the chaos of will? What law? It’s terrible.. ..Then I struggle with sculpture: I work, work and work and I don’t know what I give. Is it interior? Is it exterior? Is it sensation? Is it delirium? Is it brain? Analysis? Synthesis? I don’t know what the f... it is! Forms on forms..confusion.. .The Cubists are wrong. Picasso is wrong. The academics are wrong. We’re all a bunch of d..heads.
    • Umberto Boccioni's quote in his 2nd undated letter to Gino Severini (probably July or August 1912, or November); as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008

We Futurists are trying.. ..with the power of intuition, to place ourselves at the very center of things, in such a way that our ego forms with their own uniqueness a single complex. We thus give plastic planes a plastic expansion in space, obtaining this feeling of something in perpetual motion which is peculiar to everything living.

    • Quote of Carlo Carrà in: Piani plastici come espanzione sferica nello spazio Carrà, March 1913, as quoted in Futurism, Didier Ottinger (ed.), 2008, p. 146
  • We insist that our concept of perspective is the total antitheses of all static perspective. It is dynamic and chaotic in application, producing in the mind of the observer a veritable mass of plastic emotions.
    • Quote of Carlo Carrà in 'Piani plastici come espanzione sferica nello spazio', Carrà, March 1913
  • This bubbling and whirling of forms and lights, composed of sounds, noises, and smells has been partly achieved by me in my 'Anarchical funeral' [the painting Carrà painted ca 1910-1911, ed.].. ..by Umberto Boccioni in his 'States of Minds' and 'Forces of a Street' (both paintings Boccioni painted in 1911, ed.), by Russolo in 'Rebellion' (1911) and Severini in 'Pan-Pan (the first version, Severini painted in 1909-1911, ed.), paintings which were violently discussed at our first Paris exhibition in 1912.

Carlo Carrà in La Pittura dei suoni, rumori, odori Carrà, 11 Aug. 1913, as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 142

  • ..that dizzy seething of forms and acoustic lights, rowdy and smelly [visible in the paintings of the Futurist exhibition, February 1912 in Paris].. ..to obtain this total painting which calls for the active cooperation of all the senses: painting of the plastic mood of the universal, you have to paint the way drunkards sing and vomit, sounds, noises and smells.

Carlo Carrà in The painting of Sounds, Noises and Smells Carrà, in 'Lacerba' vol. 1. no. 17, 1,Florence, 1 September 1913, pp. 186-187

  • It is clear to me that this is art for the future. Futurism, although it has advanced beyond naturalism, occupies itself too much with human sensations. Cubism – which in its content is still too much concerned with earlier aesthetic products, and thus less rooted in its own time than Futurism – Cubism has taken a giant step in the direction of abstraction, and is in this respect of its own time and of the future. Thus in its content it is not modern, but in its effect it is.
    • Piet Mondrian, quote from his letter (Paris, 29 January 1914) to the Dutch art critic and buyer of Mondrian's paintings, H. P. Bremmer; as quoted in “Mondrian, -The Art of Destruction”, Carel Blotkamp, Reaktion Books LTD. London 2001, p. 77
  • A horse in movement is not a stationary horse that moves but a horse in a movement, which is to say something other, that should be conceived and expressed as something completely different. It is a question of conceiving objects in movement over and above the motion they carry within themselves. That is, a question of finding a form which is the expression of this new absolute.. ..A question of studying the aspects that life has taken on in haste and in consequent simultaneity.
    • Umberto Boccioni's quote from his 'Pittura e scultura futuriste (dinamismo plastico)' Milan, 1914; as quoted in: Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008
  • Use materials with forceful MUSCULAR colours – the reddest of reds, the most purple of purples, the greenest of greens, intense yellows, orange, vermilion – ans SKELETON tones of white, grey and black.
  • And we [The Futurist artists] must invent dynamic designs to go with them and express them in equally dynamic shapes: triangles, cones, spirals, ellipses, circles, etc.
    • 2 quotes by Giacomo Balla in his unpublished Futurist Manifesto of Men's clothing, Balla [dedicated to Marinetti], 1914; as quoted in "Futurism", ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 148
  • Futurism, as it has developed over six years, has solidified and surpassed Impressionism, has proposed plastic dynamism, atmospheric modeling, and the interpenetration of planes and states of mind.
  • We Futurists, Balla and Depero, seek to realize this total fusion in order to reconstruct the universe by making it more joyful, in other words by an integral re-creation. 'We will give skeleton and flesh to the invisible, the impalpable, the imponderable and the imperceptible. We will find abstract equivalents for all the forms and elements of the universe, and then well will combine them according to the caprice of our inspiration, to shape plastic complexes which we will set in motion.
  • [to erect] ..a new altar [of Futurism] throbbing with dynamism as pure and exultant as those which were elevated to divine mystery through religious contemplation.
    • Quote of Umberto Boccioni, in his letter to Nino Barbantini; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008

1916 - 1945[edit]

  • Our musical alphabet is poor and illogical. Music, which should pulsate with life, needs new means of expression, and science alone can infuse it with youthful vigor.
    Why, Italian Futurists, have you slavishly reproduced only what is commonplace and boring in the bustle of our daily lives.
    I dream of instruments obedient to my thought and which with their contribution of a whole new world of unsuspected sounds, will lend themselves to the exigencies of my inner rhythm.
    • Edgard Varèse lecture, edited by Chou Wen-Chung, published in: 391, Nr. 5. June 17, 1917
  • Art must not be concentrated in dead shrines called museums. lt must be spread everywhere – on the streets, in the trams, factories, workshops, and in the workers' homes.
    • Vladimir Mayakovsky, "Shrine or Factory?" (1918); translation from Mikhail Anikst et al. (eds.) Soviet Commercial Design of the Twenties, New York: Abbeville Press, (1987) p. 15: Mayakovsky was one of the leading literary figures of the Futurist movement.
  • Art, it is said, is not a mirror, but a hammer: it does not reflect, it shapes. But at present even the handling of a hammer is taught with the help of a mirror, a sensitive film that records all the movements. Photography and motion-picture photography, owing to their passive accuracy of depiction, are becoming important educational instruments in the field of labor. If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one resconstruct oneself or one's life, without seeing oneself in the "mirror" of literature? Of course no one speaks about an exact mirror. No one even thinks of asking the new literature to have mirror-like impassivity. The deeper literature is, and the more it is imbued with the desire to shape life, the more significantly and dynamically it will be able to "picture" life.
    • Leon Trotsky Literature and Revolution (1924), edited by William Keach (2005), Ch. 4 : Futurism, p. 120.
  • Boccioni, Russolo and I all met in the Porta Vittoria café (in Milan, Italy, ed.), close to where we all lived, and we enthusiastically outlined a draft of our appeal (the Manifesto of Futurist Painters, late February, 1910). The final version was somewhat laborious; we worked on it all day, all three of us and finished it that evening with Marinetti and the help of Decio Cinti, the group’s secretary.

La mia Vita Carrà, published for the first time in 1945; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger (2208), Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 23

    • [the painters Bonzagni and Romani signed this famous Manifesto version too, but withdraw soon; they were replaced by Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini]
  • The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art.
    • Kazimir Malevich "From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting" (November 1916).

1946 and later[edit]

  • In the early days the Cubism’ method of grasping an object was to go round and round it. The Futurists declared that one had to get inside it. In my opinion the two views can be reconciled in a poetic cognition of the world. But to the very fact that they appealed to the creative depths in the painter by awakening in him hidden forces which were intuitive and vitalizing, the Futurist theories did more than the Cubist principles to open up unexplored and boundless horizons. (after 1918)
    • Gino Severini, quote on the differences between Cubism & Futurism in understanding modern prerception, from Letters of the great artists, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, p. 248.
  • Futurism and Cubism are comparable in importance to the invention of perspective, for which they substituted a new concept of space. All subsequent movements were latent in them or brought about by them.. .. the two movements cannot be regarded as in opposition to each other, even though they started from opposite points; I maintain (an idea approved by Appolinaire and later by Matisse) that they are two extremes of the same sign, tending to coincide at certain points which only the poetic instinct of the painter can discover: 'poetry' being the content and 'raison d’être' of art.
    • Gino Severini, quote on the differences between Cubism & Futurism in understanding modern prerception, from Letters of the great artists, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, pp. 248 + 249.
  • .. since then I have found consolation in William Blake. "Without Contraries is no progression", he says in his Proverbs of Hell. And Charles Baudelaire’s idea that "Variety is an essential condition of life" seems to me to be in perfect accord with my aspirations and with my intention, as a Futurist painter, to put 'life' in the place occupied by 'reasoning' in the art of the Cubist period.
    • Gino Severini, connecting Futurism and Cubism, referring to Blake and Baudelaire; as quoted in Letters of the great artists'”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, p. 247.
  • The sentiment of the Futurists was simpler. No space. Everything ought to keep on going! That’s probably the reason they went themselves. Either a man was a machine or else a sacrifice to make machines with.. ..The only way I still think of these ideas is in terms of the individual artists who came from them or invented them. I still think that Boccioni was a great artist and a passionate man.
    • Willem de Kooning, in his speech 'What Abstract Art means to me' on the symposium 'What is Abstract At' - at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 5 February, 1951, n.p.
  • T-Rex: Futurism was an art movement where dudes were all 'CARS ARE COOL AND THE PAST IS FOR CHUMPS. LET'S DRAW SOME CARS.'
Subject: cars were new at the time and futurists were big into paintings of cars. also, stories where there's cars
T-Rex: But they also extended beyond art, to food! Futurists had a MANIFESTO for food. It banned the knife and fork AND pasta, AND told people that sardines and pineapples together were tasty times! They banned pasta because it caused skepticism?
Dromiceiomimus: Was the food good?
T-Rex: Maybe? But it wasn't very popular.
  • The enduring influence of Memphis can be seen in the groundbreaking work of French designer Philippe Starck. His prescient 1984 Café Costes interior combines futurism and nostalgia—a mix which resonates in subsequent projects like the 1988 Royalton Hotel in New York, and the long-legged lemon juicer he designed in 1990.
    • LLC Pantone, Leatrice Eiseman, Keith Recker (2011) Pantone: The Twentieth Century in Color.

External links[edit]

  • Encyclopedic article on Futurism at Wikipedia
  • Media related to Futurism (art) at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of futurism at Wiktionary
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