Idealists, workers of thought, unite to show how inspiration and genius walk in step with the progress of the machine, of aircraft, of industry, of trade, of the sciences, of electricity.
Filippo Marinetti, review 'Poesia', 1905; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 78
Madness blew so violently on the immeasurable air pump of the circuit, that it took the form of a spiral, rising like a screw to the Zenith.. [describing the Brescia automobile races, in 1907]
In 'La mort tient le volant...', in La ville charnelle, E. Sansot, Paris 1908, p. 228; as quoted in Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism, by Christine Poggi, Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 27, (note 77)
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.
quote from the 'Preface' of his novel Mafraka, le Futuriste, Filippo Marinetti, 1909; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 313, note 15
..there is no longer any beauty except the struggle. Any work of art that lacks a sense of aggression can never be a masterpiece.
In the 'First Futurist Manifesto,' Filippo Marinetti, 1909; as quoted in Critical Writings: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, New Edition, quoted in the text on the Back Cover, Macmillan, 7 Apr 2007
While an artist is labouring at his work of art, nothing prevents it from surpassing Dream. As soon as it is finished, the work must be hidden or destroyed, or better still, thrown as a prey tot the brutal crowd which will magnify it by killing it with its scorn, and thereby intensify its absurd uselessness. We thus condemn art as finished work, we conceive of it only in its movement, in the state of effort and draft. Art is simply a possibility for absolute conquest. For the artist, to complete is to die.
In 'Le Premier Manifeste du Futurisme', 1909
We affirm that the world's magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath – a roaring car that seems to run on grapeshot is more beautiful than The Victory of Samoth-race (1910).
In: 'Le Figaro', 20 February 1909, as quoted in Futurist Manifestos, ed. Umbro Appolonio, Thames and Hudson, London, 1973
..a member of anarchist and revolutionary circles, attracted in turn by violent action and by dream, before resolving to dedicate him to painting. [describing Boccioni ]
In the 'Preface' of Boccioni's show at Ca' Pesaro, July 1910; as quoted in Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism, by Christine Poggi, Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 107
The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, Figaro (Paris, Feb. 20, 1909); Original "Fondazione e Manifesto del futurismo."; Translated in Apollonio, Umbro, ed. Documents of 20th Century Art: Futurist Manifestos. Brain, Robert, R.W. Flint, J.C. Higgitt, and Caroline Tisdall, trans. New York: Viking Press, 1973. 19-24; Republished in: Poggi, Christine, and Laura Wittman, eds. Futurism: An Anthology. Yale University Press, 2009. pp. 49-54
We had stayed up all night — my friends and I — beneath mosque lamps hanging from the ceiling. Their brass domes were filigreed, starred like our souls; just as, again like our souls, they were illuminated by the imprisoned brilliance of an electric heart. On the opulent oriental rugs, we had crushed our ancestral lethargy, arguing all the way to the final frontiers of logic and blackening reams of paper with delirious writings.
Original text: Avevamo vegliato tutta la notte — i miei amici ed io — sotto lampade di moschea dalle cupole di ottone traforato, stellate come le nostre anime, perchè come queste irradiate dal chiuso fulgòre di un cuore elettrico. Avevamo lungamente calpestata su opulenti tappeti orientali la nostra atavica accidia, discutendo davanti ai confini estremi della logica ed annerendo molta carta di frenetiche scritture.
1. We intend to sing to the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.
2. Courage, boldness, and rebelliousness will be the essential elements of our poetry.
3. Up to now literature has exalted contemplative stillness, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt movement and aggression, feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the slap and the punch...
4. We affirm that the beauty of the world has been enriched by a new form of beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car with a hood that glistens with large pipes resembling a serpent with explosive breath.. ..a roaring automobile that seems to ride on grapeshot — that is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
7. There is no longer beauty except in the struggle. No more masterpieces without an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault against the unknown forces in order to overcome them and prostrate them before men.
8. ..Time and space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have already created eternal, omnipresent speed.
11. We shall sing the great masses shaken with work, pleasure, or rebellion: we shall sing the multicolored and polyphonic tidal waves of revolution in the modern metropolis; shall sing the vibrating nocturnal fervor of factories and shipyards burning under violent electrical moons; bloated railroad stations that devour smoking serpents; factories hanging from the sky by the twisting threads of spiraling smoke; bridges like gigantic gymnasts who span rivers, flashing at the sun with the gleam of a knife; adventurous steamships that scent the horizon, locomotives with their swollen chest, pawing the tracks like massive steel horses bridled with pipes, and the oscillating flight of airplanes, whose propeller flaps at the wind like a flag and seems to applaud like a delirious crowd.
Original text: Noi canteremo le grandi folle agitate dal lavoro, dal piacere o dalla sommossa: canteremo le maree multicolori e polifoniche delle rivoluzioni nelle capitali moderne; canteremo il vibrante fervore notturno degli arsenali e dei cantieri incendiati da violente lune elettriche; le stazioni ingorde, divoratrici di serpi che fumano; le officine appese alle nuvole pei contorti fili dei loro fumi; i ponti simili a ginnasti giganti che scavalcano i fiumi, balenanti al sole con un luccichio di coltelli; i piroscafi avventurosi che fiutano l'orizzonte, le locomotive dall'ampio petto, che scalpitano sulle rotaie, come enormi cavalli d'acciaio imbrigliati di tubi, e il volo scivolante degli aereoplani, la cui elica garrisce al vento come una bandiera e sembra applaudire come una folla entusiasta.
p. 52 : Last bullet-item in THE MANIFESTO OF FUTURISM
It is from Italy that we are flinging this to the world, our manifesto of burning and overwhelming violence, with which we today establish 'Futurism',for we intend to free this nation from its fetid cancer of professors, archaeologists, tour guides, and antiquarians.
Original text: È dall'Italia, che noi lanciamo pel mondo questo nostro manifesto di violenza travolgente e incendiaria, col quale fondiamo oggi il «Futurismo», perchè vogliamo liberare questo paese dalla sua fetida cancrena di professori, d’archeologhi, di ciceroni e d’antiquarii.
F.T. Marinetti. Let's Murder the Moonlight! . 11 April 1909; Original title Uccidiamo il Chiaro di Luna!,, also translated as 'Let's kill the moonlight!'
Hail! great incendiary poets, you Futurist friends!... Hail! Paolo Buzzi, Federico de Maria, Enrico Cavacchioli, Corrado Govoni, Libero Altomare! Let's flee the city of Paralysis, devastate Gout, and lay the great military Railroad along the flanks of Gorisankar, summit of the world!
We left the city with firm and nimble strides, as if dancing in our desire to find everywhere obstacles to overcome. Around us, and within our hearts, the immense intoxication of the old European sun as it swayed between wine-colored clouds.. .That sun struck us in the face with its great torch of flaming purple, then flared out, vomiting itself into the infinite.
In: Poggi, Christine, and Laura Wittman, eds. Futurism: An Anthology. Yale University Press, 2009. p. 54: Lead paragraph
A cry went up in the airy solitude of the high plains: 'Let's Murder the moonlight!' Some ran to nearby cascades; gigantic wheels were raised, and turbines transformed the rushing waters into magnetic pulses that rushed up wires, up high poles, up to shining, humming globes.
So it was that three hundred electric moons canceled with their rays of blinding mineral whiteness the ancient green queen of loves.
In: Mario J. Valdés, Daniel Javitch, Alfred Owen Aldridge (1992) Comparative literary history as discourse, p. 313
In order to win over Paris and appear, in the eyes of all Europe, an absolute innovator, the most advanced of all, I urge you to get to work with all your heart, resolute on being bolder, crazier, more advanced, surprising, eccentric, incomprehensible, and grotesque than anybody else in music. I urge you to be a madman.
Marinetti (1910); as quoted in: Lawrence Rainey (2005) Modernism: An Anthology, p. 2
Let the divine reign of Electric Light finally commence, liberating Venice from its venal moonlight of furnished rooms
In: 'Contra Venezia passatista', ('Against Venice, mired in the past') 27 April, 1910; as quoted in The Other Futurism: Futurist Activity in Venice, Padua and Verona, Willard Bohn, University of Toronto Press Incorporated, 2004, ISBN 0-8020-8816-3, p. 8
The past is necessarily inferior to the future. That is how we wish it to be. How could we acknowledge any merit in our most dangerous enemy: the past, gloomy prevaricator, execrable tutor?
To the conception of the imperishable, the immortal, we oppose, in art, that of becoming, the perishable, the transitory, and the ephemeral.
We Abjure Our Symbolist Masters..., from War, the World's Only Hygiene (1911-1915)
Art deals with profound and simple moods.. ..Let us suppose that the artist – in this instance [the artist] Picabia – gets a certain impression by looking at our skyscrapers, our city, our way of life, and that he tries to reproduce it.. ..he will convey it in plastic ways on the canvas, even though we see neither skyscrapers nor city on it.
quote from an interview in 'A Paris painter', H. Hapgood; in 'Globe and commercial Advertiser', 20 February 1913, p. 8 / 10
Try to live the war pictorially studying it in all its mechanical forms (military trains, fortifications, wounded men, ambulances, hospitals, parades, etc).
In a letter to Gino Severini, 20 November 1914; as quoted in Futurism, Tisdall and Bozsolla, Thames and Hudson, 1973, p. 190
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.
quote from 'Guerra sola igiene del mundo', in Edizione Futuriste di Poesia', Milan 1915; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 21
Before us, art relied on memory, an anxious re-evocation of an Object lost (happiness, love, a landscape), and hence was nostalgic, static, charged with suffering and distance. With Futurism, instead, art is turning into art-action, which is to say, into will, optimism, aggression, possession, penetration, delight, brutal reality within art (example: onomatopoiea; —example: noise-tuners = motors), geometrical splendor of forces, projections forward. Thus, art is becoming Presence, new Object, new reality created with the abstract elements of the universe. The hands of the passéist artist used to suffer for the sake of the lost Object; our hand will twitch for the new Object to be created. That is why the new Object (the plastic complex) has miraculously appeared in your hands.
Quote in: Fortunato Depero & Giacomo Balla 'The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe' in: Direzione del Movimento Futurista, March 11, 1915. Transl. Caroline Tisdall, 1973.
Mondrian is the greatest Futurist painter of the North.
As quoted in Abstract Painting, Michel Seuphor, Dell Publishing Co., 1964, p. 36
Futurist Speech to the English, lecture at the Lyceum Club of London in 1910,; Published in Marinetti: Selected Writings (1972); Republished in: Poggi, Christine, and Laura Wittman, eds. Futurism: An Anthology. Yale University Press, 2009. pp. 70-54
We love the indomitable bellicose patriotism that sets you apart; we love the national pride that guides your muscularly courageous race; we love the potent individualism that doesn't prevent you from opening your arms to individualists of every land, whether libertarians or anarchists.
The compliments you are about to pay could only sadden me, because what you love in our dear peninsula is exactly the object of our hatreds. Indeed, you crisscross Italy only to meticulously sniff out the traces of our oppressive past, and you are happy, insanely happy, if you have the good fortune to carry home some miserable stone on which our ancestors have trodden.
Quoted in: Anthony L. Geist, Jose B. Monle-N, Modernism and Its Margins: Reinscribing Cultural Modernity from Spain and Latin America. Taylor & Francis, 1999, p. 57.
When will you disembarrass yourselves of the lymphatic ideology of that deplorable Ruskin, which I would like to cover with so much ridicule that you would never forget it? With his morbid dream of primitive and rustic life, with his nostalgia for Homeric cheeses and legendary wool-spinners, with his hatred for the machine, steam power, and electricity, that maniac of antique simplicity is like a man who, after having reached full physical maturity, still wants to sleep in his cradle and feed himself at the breast of his decrepit old nurse in order to recover his thoughtless infancy.
Quoted in: Anthony L. Geist, Jose B. Monle-N, Modernism and Its Margins: Reinscribing Cultural Modernity from Spain and Latin America. Taylor & Francis, 1999, p. 57.
F.T. Marinetti, War, the Only Hygiene of the World, (1911)
And now I am obliged to tell you what it is that clearly distinguishes Futurism from anarchism.
The latter, denying the infinite principle of human evolution, brings its forward-looking viewpoint to a halt in the ideal of universal peace, a stupid paradise of people caressing in open fields or beneath billowing palm trees.
We, instead, affirm that one of Futurism’s absolute principles is the continuous development and unending progress, both bodily and intellectual, of man.
In: Poggi, Christine, and Laura Wittman, eds. Futurism: An Anthology. Yale University Press, 2009. p. 84
'Multiplied Man and the Reign of the Machine' 1911Edit
F.T. Marinetti 'Multiplied Man and the Reign of the Machine,' 1911. Original title 'L'uomo moltiplicato e il Regno della macchina,'
All this will have left you disposed to understand one of our principal Futurist efforts, which consists of abolishing in literature the apparently indissoluble fusion of the two concepts of Woman and Beauty. This ideological a fusion has reduced all romance to a sort of heroic assault that a bellicose and lyrical male launches against a tower that bristles with enemies, a story which ends when the hero, now beneath starlight, carries the divine Beauty-Woman away to new heights. Novels such as Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo or Salammbô by Flaubert can clarify my point. It is a matter of a dominant leitmotif, already worn out,c of which we would like to disencumber literature and art in general.
In: Poggi, Christine, and Laura Wittman, eds. Futurism: An Anthology. Yale University Press, 2009. p. 89
It is therefore necessary to prepare the imminent and inevitable identification of man with the motor, facilitating and perfecting an incessant exchange of intuition, rhythm, instinct and metallic discipline, quite utterly unknown to the majority of humanity and only divined by the most lucid mind.
In: Günter Berghaus (2000) International Futurism in Arts and Literature. p. 318
I have said that Marinetti was.. ..exceptionally gifted, and I should add that I never saw him twiddling his thumbs even for ten minutes.. ..beside his desk he often kept piles of books in which he would write dedications.. ..invariably with the purpose of spreading the word about Futurism.
Quote of Carlo Carrà in: La mia Vita Carrà- published in 1945; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger (2208), Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008; p. unknown
* There can be no doubt that Marinetti feared that Futurism was going to be increasingly marginalized in Fascist Italy. He had to think about his own and his movement's survival under a fascist regime and to rescue what he could of an artistic movement which he had built up and promoted for more than a decade. [Marinetti resigned from Mussolini's Fascist Party in 1920]
Günther Berghaus, as quoted in The Other Futurism: Futurist Activity in Venice, Padua and Verona, by Willard Bohn, University of Toronto Press Incorporated, 2004 – ISBN 0-8020-8816-3, p. 4 (Introduction)