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Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

All work on this blog is copyright to me unless I state that it isn't. Obviously. Don't do stealing, kids.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

The Future is the Way Forward

I'm quite excited to see that there is a new Futurism exhibition going on at the Tate Modern this summer, from the 12th June to 20th September 2009.

I think Futurism is one of my favourite art movements... they were an Italian bunch, founded in 1909, produced some great work but a lot of their ideas were pretty extreme. It didn't really survive long, but a lot of the work they produced was visually quite stunning, and has influenced me over the years since I discovered it in college.

Their general idea was that all previous art should be destroyed, they saw the museums of italy like mauseleums, tombs for irrelevant art that didn't have a place in their shiny, industrialised, future. They basically went so far as to say that all art, once created, should be destroyed as it was 'past' and not relevant anymore. They were concerned with speed, industry, things moving forward, and a lot of the work reflects this in it's harsh lines, dynamicity, and forward thinking. They embraced new technology rather than feared it... altogether it was quite a good art movement, aesthetically, except for the fact they were pretty much all fascists and they glorified war (check out number 9 on the manifesto). Which isn't great, really, considering what happened in Europe only a few years later. Oh and they hated women.

Read the manifesto here, it's quite interesting, gives you a good insight into what the Futurists were all about.

Here's what Wikipedia says about them:

The Italian writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was its founder and most influential personality. He launched the movement in his Futurist Manifesto, which he published for the first time on 5th February 1909 in La gazzetta dell'Emilia, an article then reproduced in the French daily newspaper Le Figaro on 20 February 1909. In it Marinetti expressed a passionate loathing of everything old, especially political and artistic tradition. "We want no part of it, the past", he wrote, "we the young and strong Futurists!" The Futurists admired speed, technology, youth and violence, the car, the airplane and the industrial city, all that represented the technological triumph of humanity over nature, and they were passionate nationalists.

The Futurists practiced in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture and even gastronomy.

Here's a few of my favourite Futurist images; like I said, I love it for the clean lines, the use of typography, the dynamics... the influence on graphic design is apparent - here's a great blog post discussing the link between modern graphic design and movements such as Futurism and Cubism, definitely go have a look at that.

Umberto Boccioni, Materia, 1912

An example of Futurist architecture by Antonio Sant'Elia

Filippo Marinetti, "Montage + Vallate + Strade x Joffre", 1915

Another text based image from Marinetti. He experimented with parole in libertà "words in freedom", poetry made from words thrown about the page, with visual additions like lines, drawings etc. Quite similar to today's Concrete Poetry, which has been quite a big influence on my work when I work with lyrics, text, manipulation of type... here's a previous post from a while back where I experimented with manipulation of type, and representing lyrics in visual form; you'll have to scroll down as what I'm talking about is at the bottom, I used to be very rambly back then.

So I'm definitely going to try and see this exhibition when it hits the Tate, tickets are £12.20 so not too bad. Head over to the Tate Modern website and have a look :)

I've been a bit lax with posting in the last few days; it's been such amazing weather and I've been to a few BBQ's and went to the beach yesterday so that's my excuse. I need to post more drawings I've done too! I have an interview today and one on saturday too so that's cool.

What do you think about Futurism? Greatest art movement of the 20th Century, or fascist, war-mongering, crazies? Leave a comment :)

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