Giacomo Balla from abstract futurism to iconic futurism. The exhibition in Rome

Rome, Palazzo Merulana hosts from March 21 to July 17, 2019 the exhibition 'Giacomo Balla. From Abstract Futurism to Iconic Futurism'.

Palazzo Merulana presents Giacomo Balla. From Abstract Futurism to Iconic Futurism, an exhibition curated by Fabio Benzi and focusing on Primo Carnera created by Balla in 1933. It is a work painted on both sides, with Vaprofumo from 1926 on one side, a typically Futurist subject that was exhibited in 1928 at the solo show Balla held at the Amatori e Cultori in Rome and represents the playful synaesthetic system of Balla’s Futurism at the time: the light forms, the soft, metallic and golden colors are intended to evoke the olfactory impression given off by a perfume bottle; the painting’s curious “pierced” outline represents with its two openings at the top the nostrils that perceive smell.

On the verso of the work in 1933, the artist painted Primo Carnera, which was sharply inspired by a photo by Elio Luxardo, a friend of Marinetti (whose house in Piazza Adriana he photographed) and author of an impressive portrait of the boxer published on the front page of the Gazzetta dello Sport in 1933, when he became World Champion. This image, circulated simultaneously around the globe, forms the iconographic basis for Balla’s painting.

The intention to match the painted image with the effect of the gravure is achieved by the artist by applying a metal mesh to the bottom of the painting, on which he then paints, causing a “screening” effect, identical to that produced by the printed images of newspapers. An intentional, and for the time extraordinary, confrontation with the means of mass diffusion of the image: a founding element, many years later, of the figurative universe of American pop art (from Warhol to Lichtenstein).

It is evident that Balla was studying a possible development and renewal of Futurism by finding inspiration, in tune with people’s everyday sensibility, in the imagery aroused by cinema, fashion and news photography, which is daily leafed through in glossy magazines, which is simultaneously watched and imitated by millions of people
The “avant-garde” of taste is a kind of mass imagery, a “mass avant-garde,” a concept he emphasized in a futurist proclamation published in 1930.

The exhibition therefore aims to investigate this shift in style, which experiments with images that are strongly, almost violently, associated with those of the media of the time, with the nascent iconicity of media stars (of sports as well as cinema).

The exhibition brings together, in addition to some more explicitly Futurist paintings executed in the same years, works executed with that “screening” technique, comparing them with images of the stars, made by great photographers such as Luxardo and Ghergo, and with magazines of the time.

The exhibition opens from March 21 to June 17.

For all information you can visit the Palazzo Merulana website.

Source: release

Giacomo Balla from abstract futurism to iconic futurism. The exhibition in Rome
Giacomo Balla from abstract futurism to iconic futurism. The exhibition in Rome

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