Giacomo Balla

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Giacomo Balla, Sculptural Construction of Noise and Speed (1914-1915.

Giacomo Balla - in sourced quotes of the artist. Giacomo Balla (July 18, 1871March 1, 1958) was an Italian art teacher, painter and poet, who participated in the Futurist art movement.


Quotes of Giacomo Balla[edit]

chronologicall arranged, after date of the quotes
  • In the evening I study a fair.. ..if you could see the pomp and luxury of the merry-go-round and the stands and booths. Everything is decorated in Baroque-style, all gold and silver; there are mirrors, fabrics, and electric lightning. By night the whole thing is fantastic and rowdy. First of all I shall make a small picture and some drawings for illustrations.
    • Giacomo Balla (ca. 1900) quoted in: Giacomo Balla (1871 – 1951), ed. Fagiolo dell'Arco, exh. catalogue, Galleria Nationale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, 1971
    • Balla studied a fair for his later painting 'Luna park in Paris,' he made in 1900.


  • It will interest artists because, in it, I have made a special study of the way of walking of this girl, and, in fact, I have succeeded in giving the illusion that she is in the process of moving forward.
    • Giacomo Balla (ca. 1900); Quoted in 'Lista,' Balla, in catalogue raisonné, Edizione Galleria Fonte d’Abisso, Modena, 1982, p. 248
    • Balla's quote refers to a photo of a moving girl, made before 1900 by photographer w:Jules-Etienne Marey; the photo was exposed at the w:Exposition Universelle (1900), visited by Balla, then.


  • Villages and valleys pass by [Balla viewed during his train voyage to Düsseldorf in July 1912] and with my friend the binoculars [field glasses] I stare into the closest windows; semi-undressed people who wash themselves, bedding on balconies, clean almost empty rooms, a stupendous white shoulder of a women who, with a nude arm opens a door and goes inside.
    • In a letter to his family, July 1912; as quoted in Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism, by Christine Poggi, Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 306, note 34


  • The Rhine, with two long branches, stretches out and loses itself among inlets and hills, the boats of tourists and of industry smoke, white, black, and gray, and small, small, seem almost not to move; the silver clear, transparent water, calm and ordered, contrasts with all the rest.. ..the water gurgles, the sides of the boat are covered in spray, many people greet each other, white handkerchiefs are waved from on high, the hotels, the flags, the inscriptions, the hills and the pointed tips of the bell towers, everything seems unreal, untouchable.
    • In a letter to his family, 18 November 1912; as quoted in Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism, by Christine Poggi, Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 307, note 36


  • They [Boccioni and Severini] did not want anything to do with me in Paris and they were right: they have gone much further than I, but I will work and I too will progress.
    • Balla is quoted here by his former pupil Umberto Boccioni in a letter to his Futurist art-friend and also former pupil of Balla Gino Severini, Jan. 1913; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 248
    • Balla was referring to his two former pupils


'Futurist Manifesto of Men's clothing,' 1913/1914[edit]

unpublished 'Futurist Manifesto of Men's clothing,' Giacomo Balla (dedicated to Marinetti], 1914




  • Use materials with forceful MUSCULAR colours – the reddest of reds, the most purple of purples, the greenest of greens, intense yellows, orange, vermillion – and SKELETON tones of white, grey and black.
    • (Manuscript, 1914); as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 148


  • And we must invent dynamic designs to go with them and express them in equally dynamic shapes: triangles, cones, spirals, ellipses, circles, etc.
    • (Manuscript, 1914); as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 148


  • We want Futurist clothes to be comfortable and practical

Dynamic
Aggressive
Shocking
Energetic
Violent
Flying (i.e. giving the idea of flying, rising and running)
Peppy
Joyful
Illuminating (in order to have light even in the rain)
Phosphorescent
Lit by electric lamps.



'The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe.' 1915[edit]

The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe Manifesto with w:Fortunato Depero, in: Direzione del Movimento Futurista, March 11, 1915, (transl. Caroline Tisdall, 1973.


  • 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.


  • Using complex, constructive, noise-producing abstraction, that is, the Futurist Style. Any action developed in space, any emotion felt, will represent for us the intuition of a discovery.


  • Further developing his first synthesis of a speeding automobile, Balla has arrived at the first plastic complex. This has revealed to us an abstract landscape of cones, pyramids, polyhedrons, spirals of mountains, rivers, lights, shadows. In short, there is a deep analogy between the essential force-lines of speed and the essential force-lines of a landscape.


Quotes about Giacomo Balla[edit]

  • Balla (former art teacher of Boccioni and Severini) flabbergasted us because, not content with being involved in a Futurist campaign, as you can well imagine him doing, he launched himself into a complete transformation. He rejected all his works and all his working methods. He started work on four pictures of movement (one painting was 'Girl running on a balcony'), which were still realist but incredible ahead of their time.. .He confided this to w:Aldo Pallazzeschi: 'They (Balla's former pupils Boccioni and Severini) did not want anything to do with me in Paris and they were right: they have gone much further than I, but I will work and I too will progress.'
    • Boccioni in a letter to Gino Severini, Jan. 1913; Boccioni is referring to their common former teacher Balla who lived and worked then in Paris also; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008


  • The author [Balla] wrote 'Macchina typografica', [his first work for theater, never performed] placed us in geometric order [during a rehearsal in the Salon of w:Serge Diaghilev, 1916] and with the unfailing grey-rectangular walking stick, directed out machine-like movements and the gestures that we each had to carry out in order to represent the spirit of the single pieces of a rotary newspaper press. I was assigned a 'STA' to be reiterated violently with an arm gymnastically. I felt as if I were in the courtyard of a training barracks. Balla, needless to say, reserved for himself the hissings the onomatopoeias, the most delicate verbalizations, that emerged from his lips intermingled with that memorably Piemontese 'neh' and the uncorking of bottles of Frascati by the incorrigible, bearded Semenoff, which turned everything into an extremely intelligent and amusing grotesque.
    • w:Virgilio Marchi, in La Stirpe, Rome, March 1928; p. 159-163; as quoted in Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism, by Christine Poggi, Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 306, note 31


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