Giacomo Balla

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

Giacomo Balla (July 18, 1871March 1, 1958) was an Italian composer and painter, who participated in the Futurism movement.


  • 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, catalogue raisonné, Edizione Galleria Fonte d’Abisso, Modena, 1982, p. 248
    • Balla talks about the photo of a moving girl by Jules-Etienne Marey, showed at the 1900 Exposition Universelle and seen there by Balla.
  • They 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 in a letter of Umberto Boccioni to Gino Severini, Jan. 1913; as quoted in "Futurism", ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 248
    • Balla was referring to his former pupils, the young Futurist painters Boccioni and Severini.

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

Unpublished "Futurist Manifesto of Men's clothing," Balla (dedicated to Marinetti), 1914; as quoted in "Futurism", ed.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

  • Use materials with forceful MUSCULAR colours – the reddest of reds, the most purple of purples, the greenest of greens, intense yellows, orange, vermillion – ans SKELETON tones of white, grey and black.
  • And we must invent dynamic designs to go with them and express them in equally dynamic shapes: triangles, cones, spirals, ellipses, circles, etc.

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

The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe Manifesto with Fortunato Depero, in: Direzione del Movimento Futurista, March 11, 1915. Translation by 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.

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