The future of Futurisme

21 September 2007 (All day) to 24 February 2008 (All day)
— Curated by: Giacinto Di Pietrantonio e M. Cristina Rodeschini

The future of Futurisme

GAMeC – Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo will exhibit two hundred artworks to illustrate how the revolution represented by Futurism has influenced the development of modern and contemporary art.

THE FUTURE OF FUTURISM, produced by GAMeC with COBE Direzionale S.p.A., focuses attention on the influence Futurism has had on the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as a foretaste of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the movement in 2009.

The exhibition is curated by Giacinto Di Pietrantonio and Maria Cristina Rodeschini Galati. It displays approximately 200 works by 120 artists that illustrate the influence exercised by Futurism (the most important avant-garde movement in Italy) on the developments of the visual arts in the twentieth century and up to the present day. The exhibition is laid out on a thematic basis to demonstrate how the various artistic languages that had their theoretical and poetical basis in the Futurist manifestos were related to the most innovative artistic explorations of the last century.

From works by the fathers of Futurism – such as Boccioni, Balla, Carrà, Russolo, Severini and Depero, figures of immense importance to the history of art for having interpreted such revolutionary concepts such as simultaneity, the aesthetic value of technological innovation, and the fascination of a still unattempted future – the exhibition moves towards artistic research for which the radical nature of Futurism opened the path: Abstractionism, Constructivism, Kinetic Art and the new avant-gardes of the 1960s and '70s, up to the leading figures in contemporary art. The exhibition will be a show based on comparisons, analogies and differences.

The Futurist artists believed in the need for a radical redesign of the universe, a development that led them to conceive every form of creative expression in a new fashion, in particular dance, photography, cinema, theatre, furniture and living spaces. In exploring the breadth of this initiative, the exhibition The Future of Futurism will offer a vast selection of exemplary works, creating cultural relations with the worlds of show business and industry.

Taking its cue from the themes celebrated by Futurism – from speed to technology, from simultaneity to the dynamism of the metropolis, from audacity to rebellion to scandal – GAMeC is dividing its spaces into 9 sections.

A short film, edited by Carlo Durante, Massimo Galimberti and Leonardo Rigon, has been specially created for the exhibition in collaboration with RAI – Direzione Teche.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Electa, also available in English. It contains an opening essay by Giacinto Di Pietrantonio and, for each of the nine sections, a conversation between two experts in different disciplines on the theme of the section in question: Cristina Rodeschini – Enrico Crispolti (Futurism revisited); Beppe Finessi – Alessandro Mendini (Metropolitan energy); Emanuela De Cecco – Gianluca Bocchi (To anarchy from tradition); Viktor Misiano – Boris Kagarlitzky (The aestheticisation of politics); Carlo Antonelli – Momus (The society of the spectacle); Teresa Macrì – Anna Camaiti Hostert (Overly human man); Antonio Somaini – Pietro Montani (Time and technology); Véronique Bouruet-Aubertot – Marc Augé (Living at speed); Alessandro Rabottini – Marco Giusti (Imagination without wires).

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of multi-disciplinary parallel events, such as educational projects, guided visits for individuals (at fixed times and with reserved places), a series of conferences and meetings with artists and the authors of the catalogue essays, and the GAMeCinema programme in partnership with Lab 80 Film. Starting in autumn and based on the rediscovery of the Fondo Cinematografico Nino Zucchelli, this programme runs over four evenings at the Auditorium in Piazza della Libertà in Bergamo, and will show the documentary Jeu d'echecs avec Marcel Duchamp by Jean-Marie Drot (1964) and The Last Clean Short by Alfred Leslie (1965) as part of the exhibition itself. It will conclude in January and February with two classics that are still striking for their visionary and original conception: Blade Runner: Director's Cut by Ridley Scott (1982) and La chinoise by Jean-Luc Godard (1967).


The Future of Futurism is a project in line with the cultural policy of the Associazione per la GAMeC – onlus, whose founding partners are the Comune di Bergamo and TenarisDalmine.

The Principal Sponsor of the show is Banca Aletti. Co-sponsor, SIAD, and Partner, Tecnowatt SpA.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Ministero Pubblica Istruzione and Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali and includes the participation of the Provincia di Bergamo (with special emphasis on educational activities), the Camera di Commercio di Bergamo, theFondazione ASM and the support of Credito Bergamasco.

In addition to its founding partners, the gallery's ongoing activities rely on the funding of its supporting partners Banca Popolare di Bergamo and Bonaldi S.p.A., and on Confindustria Bergamo.

The Future of Futurism is a PolioPlus Partner with Rotary International Distretto 2040 in the fight against polio in Afghanistan.


The sessions of the exhibition:
Futurism revisited. For an avant-garde that made radicalism of language the basis on which it operated, with a proposal to refound art by cutting all links with the past and projecting itself towards new forms of expression, the act of revisiting Futurism may not seem especially suitable. However, today revision is part of contemporary art, which finds in Futurism's approach to fragmentation, dissolvency, curved and spiral lines an attempt to move away from the straight lines and solemnity long researched by some of the artists of the eighteenth century. Artists: Umberto Boccioni, John Cage, Luciano Fabro, Damien Hirst, Thomas Ruff, Mario Schifano, Frank Stella, Patrick Tuttofuoco.
Metropolitan energy. The second room is dedicated to the metropolis, or rather to the positive and creative energy that it represents. For the Futurists, the city was the place where technology, transportation and the frenzied rhythm of life were centred, and they turned it into an unprecedented field of aesthetic action. Today, in our post-modern and communications society, the Futurist utopia has taken shape and the city has become a place of production, departure and arrival for the masses of real and virtual movement. Thus, architecture too has become fluid, pushing the planned model of social engineering out of the picture in favour of increasingly immaterial structures, mobility and transience, which themselves become manifestos situated somewhere between utopia, visionariness and technological dream. Artists: Vito Acconci, Franz Ackermann, A-One, Archigram, Archizoom, Atelier Mendini con Alchimia, Boeri Studio (Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, Giovanni La Varra), Pere Català Pic, Mario Chiattone, Paul Citroën, Peter Cook con Colin Fournier, Tullio Crali, Fortunato Depero, Nicolaj Diulgheroff, Cesar Domela Nieuwenhuis, Massimiliano Fuksas, Carlos Garaicoa, Frank O. Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Jan Kamman, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Gustav Klutsis, Alexis Leiva Machado (Kcho), Armin Linke, Virgilio Marchi, Jean Nouvel, Gianni Pettena, Ljubov Sergeevna Popova, Rammellzee, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Antonio Sant'Elia, Karl Steiner, Superstudio, Toxic, UFO.
To anarchy from tradition. All art history, not just that of the avant-gardes and subsequent neo-avant-gardes, is permeated by the desire to break with tradition; this does not mean a simple negation of the past but, for the Futurists, it was also an ironic and brazen combination of those elements that make up tradition, the creation of an anarchy to generate new expressions and to take things apart so as to rebuild them. Artists: Nikolai Burkovskij, Carlo Carrà, Ilja Casnik, Maurizio Cattelan, Sandro Chia, Giuseppe Chiari, Tony Cragg, Martin Creed, Marcel Duchamp, Pinot Gallizio, Piero Manzoni, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Luigi Russolo, Antonina Fyodorovna Sofronova.
The Aestheticisation of Politics. This section stems from the complicated relationship between Futurism and power, from the anarchic roots of its philosophy to the movement's involvement with Fascism. The Futurists had fully understood that the industrial revolution was changing the structure of society and that a new form of expression was therefore necessary, one that covered the spectrum from art to literature and life itself. The new art was supposed to transform society by permeating it and taking "imagination to power". The works highlight the multifaceted relationship that exists between art and politics, from its rhetorical (and therefore more aesthetic) aspect to its active, participatory side. Artists: Renato Bertelli, Maurizio Cattelan, Fortunato Depero, Gustav Klutsis, Barbara Kruger, El Lissitzkij (Lazar Markovich), Vladimir Majakovskij, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Fabio Mauri, Alessandro Mendini con Alchimia, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Luigi Russolo, Wolf Vostell.
The society of the spectacle. The Futurists understood the role of communications and placed the public at the centre of their research. The public was not considered as passive, but active, and able to interact and respond to the provocations stimulated by the artists. Futurist art, which communicated in a mixture of styles – slogans, posters, radio broadcasts, etc. – shifted attention from the plane of pure expression to that of communication, exploiting it, even through the use of scandal. Similarly, the public was becoming a mobile universe, no longer identifiable, which began to place itself at the centre of its attention, to display itself rather than to watch, and heralding our current society of images founded on appearance. Artists: Archizoom, Giacomo Balla, Luca Comerio, Tullio Crali, Fortunato Depero, Marcel Fabre, Keith Haring, Corrado Levi, El Lissitzkij (Lazar Markovich), Paul McCarthy, Aleksei Alekseevich Morgunov, Nam June Paik, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Mimmo Rotella, Gino Severini, Nadezhda Andreevna Udaltsova, Andy Warhol.
Overly human man. This section is titled after a work by Nietzsche in which the thinker claims that the role of philosophy – like that of art – is to give the greatest meaning possible to life. Thus the opportunities given by technological development allow man to increase his potential. First the machine, and then biotechnological research, are the developments that allow man to surpass his human limitations, a move from the man-machine celebrated by the Futurists to the overly human man in which the body becomes central to art and the current ethical debate surrounding scientific research. Artists: Umberto Boccioni, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Nicolaj Diulgheroff, Fillia (Luigi Colombo), Gilbert & George, Gustav Klutsis, Robert Longo, Bruce Nauman, Enrico Prampolini, Mario Sironi.
Time and technology. The whole of the twentieth century was pervaded by firm faith in the science and technology that had created new opportunities and very evidently accelerated the rhythms of daily life. In life, as in art, society passed from the world of creation to a sphere of experimentation and rapid repetition. Trust in progress as a continual challenge, and the shift from cyclical time to free time and therefore to multi-temporality and syncretism, have led to the fact that the exact sciences are no longer applicable to art; in consequence, they have been opened to doubt and the so-called "open" artwork has come into being. Artists: Getulio Alviani, Giacomo Balla, Henrych Berlewi, Toni Costa, Natalja Goncarova, Carsten Höller, Ivan Kudriashev, Julio Le Parc, El Lissitzkij (Lazar Markovich), Evgenia Markovna Magaril, Enzo Mari, Manfredo Massironi, Tatsuo Miyajima, László Moholy-Nagy, Bruno Munari, Kenneth Snelson, Michail Ksenofontovich Sokolov, Jesús Rafael Soto, Jean Tinguely, Léeon Tutundjan, Yuri Alekseevich Vasnetsov, Alexander Zeitlin.
Living at speed. The worship of speed and dynamism as emblems of the modern age has strongly affected artists, even to the present day. The idea of speed for the Futurists was not just linked to the development of new means of transportation and communication, but affected all aspects of life: life that took on new forms, impinging on everything. Systems thus end up becoming networks of computer-based (and therefore virtual) relationships. Artists: Carla Accardi, John Armleder, Baldessari (Roberto Marcello), Carlo Carrà, Sandro Chia, Fortunato Depero, Piero Dorazio, Lucio Fontana, Gustav Klutsis, František Kupka, Maurizio Mochetti, Pippo Oriani con Tina Cordero e Guido Martina, Ivo Pannaggi, Gianni Piacentino, Ljubov Sergeevna Popova, Enrico Prampolini, Robert Rauschenberg, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Gino Severini, Tato (G. Sansoni), Emilio Vedova.
Imagination without wires. The last section borrows part of its title from a manifesto written by Marinetti in 1913 "Imagination without wires and words in freedom". This section presents video works that invite viewers to reflect on the media: on their aesthetic influence over the information society and their role as mediators between us and reality, between integration and escapism. Futurism was the first movement to incorporate time into its art, in terms of imagery, words, sounds and representation. In this sense video may be considered as a union between imagery and the flow of time, and a means to explore today's civilisation without wires, where data and information travel through the ether at the speed of light. Artists: Dara Birnbaum, Candice Breitz, Guy Debord, Jonathan Horowitz, Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy, Len Lye.

The widespread promotion of the exhibition by COBE Direzionale SpA will include an operation dedicated to families, mounted in partnership with Associazione Art Valley and Gruppo IPER, in which all IPER supermarkets in Lombardy will take part.


The artists:

Carla Accardi, Vito Acconci, Franz Ackermann, Getulio Alviani, A-One, Archigram, Archizoom, John Armleder, Atelier Mendini con Alchimia, Baldessari (Roberto Marcello), Giacomo Balla, Henrych Berlewi, Renato Bertelli, Dara Birnbaum, Umberto Boccioni, Boeri Studio (Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, Giovanni La Varra), Candice Breitz, Nikolai Burkovskij, John Cage, Carlo Carrà, Pere Català Pic, Ilja Casnik, Maurizio Cattelan, Sandro Chia, Giuseppe Chiari, Mario Chiattone, Paul Citroën, Luca Comerio, Peter Cook con Colin Fournier, Toni Costa, Tony Cragg, Tullio Crali, Martin Creed, Guy Debord, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Fortunato Depero, Nicolaj Diulgheroff, Cesar Domela Nieuwenhuis, Piero Dorazio, Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Fabre, Luciano Fabro, Fillia (Luigi Colombo), Lucio Fontana, Massimiliano Fuksas, Pinot Gallizio, Carlos Garaicoa, Frank O. Gehry, Gilbert & George, Natalja Goncarova, Zaha Hadid, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Carsten Höller, Jonathan Horowitz, Jan Kamman, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Gustav Klutsis, Barbara Kruger, Ivan Kudriashev, František Kupka, Fernand Léger e Dudley Murphy, Alexis Leiva Machado (Kcho), Julio Le Parc, Corrado Levi, Armin Linke, El Lissitzkij (Lazar Markovich), Robert Longo, Len Lye, Evgenia Markovna Magaril, Vladimir Majakovskij, Piero Manzoni, Virgilio Marchi, Enzo Mari, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Manfredo Massironi, Fabio Mauri, Paul McCarthy, Alessandro Mendini con Alchimia, Tatsuo Miyajima, Maurizio Mochetti, László Moholy-Nagy, Aleksei Alekseevich Morgunov, Bruno Munari, Bruce Nauman, Jean Nouvel, Pippo Oriani con Tina Cordero e Guido Martina, Nam June Paik, Ivo Pannaggi, Gianni Pettena, Gianni Piacentino, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ljubov Sergeevna Popova, Enrico Prampolini, Rammellzee, Robert Rauschenberg, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Mimmo Rotella, Thomas Ruff, Luigi Russolo, Antonio Sant'Elia, Mario Schifano, Gino Severini, Mario Sironi, Kenneth Snelson, Antonina Fyodorovna Sofronova, Michail Ksenofontovich Sokolov, Jesús Rafael Soto, Karl Steiner, Frank Stella, Superstudio, Tato (G. Sansoni), Jean Tinguely, Toxic, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Léeon Tutundjan, Nadezhda Andreevna Udaltsova, UFO, Yuri Alekseevich Vasnetsov, Emilio Vedova, Wolf Vostell, Andy Warhol, Alexander Zeitlin