Futurism (1909-1944), which actually owes its inception to poetry, was the first major art movement of the 20th century. It encompassed not only nearly every form of creative expression, including practical arts like architecture, advertising, and product design. Interestingly, there were two very separate and very different Futurist movements during roughly the same time period, one in Italy and one in Russia, though the Russian Futurists are often overlooked because the Italian movement was much more heavily publicized. Though the cores of both movements were relatively short-lived, Futurism left lasting effects on many forms of art and design, particularly book design and typography.
[...] Caroline Tisdall and Angelo Bozzolla, authors of the book Futurism, claim that “almost every twentieth century attempt to release language from traditional rules and restrictions has a precedent somewhere in Futurism” (qtd. in Bartram 22). Unfortunately, the focus of the mainstream contemporary book is not to eschew the rules, but to adhere to them. For this reason, most books published today do not display much influence from the Futurists. Works Cited Bartram, Alan. Futurist Typography and the Liberated Text. New Haven: Yale UP Blackwell, Lewis. [...]
[...] In order to restore primordial purity and immediacy” that the book had lost in the machine age, the Futurists began making homemade “anti-books” out of inexpensive (and often unusual) materials and bound with glue or clumsy stitching 47). The Russians Futurists attempted to completely remove all forms of new technology from their book production process, often going so far as to have the author handwrite the whole book rather than use any sort of typesetting. The handwriting actually served a dual purpose; in addition to allowing a more personal production process, it made the books even more personal and expressive. [...]
[...] Also in 1914, Marinetti published his definitive Futurist book called Zang Tumb Tumb, based on his experience at Adrianopolis, Turkey, in 1912 during the Balkan War. Marinetti believed that must glorify the most violent aspects of 20th century which is exactly what Zang Tumb Tumb accomplishes. The book contains no illustrations; rather, Marinetti paints vivid and frighteningly glorious images of the war with parole in libertà and the New Typography (Weston 86). Alan Bartram describes this technique in his book Futurist Typography and the Liberated Text: depicted the chaos of battle by a kind of visual onomatopoeia,” to let the reader explosions of grenades and shots of the weapons” (Scudiero). [...]
[...] The Italian Futurist movement revolved around the novelty and shock produced not only by the unexpected and disharmonious appearance of its art, but also by the aggressive originality of its theory, expressed through its manifestos On February the Paris newspaper Le Figaro printed the first Futurist manifesto, written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “while hundreds of copies in Italian were sent to leading figures all over Italy” 29). As Maurizio Scudiero, an expert on the movement observes, Futurism was the first art movement to utilize the manifesto, as well as varied publicity stunts, a public means to advertise artistic philosophy, and also as a polemic weapon against the academic and conservative world.” Marinetti, a poet and playwright, made the futurists' manifesto frontal attack on bourgeois culture” (Levarie 294). [...]
[...] The fact that the whole book was written and illustrated with the same medium by the same person produces a calming textural unity and smooth, natural transitions between the poems and the illustrations (Kovtum 48). Larionov even tried to emulate his handwriting style in his drawings, adding to the intimate harmony of the book. Even the cover, illustrated with a monotone abstract construction of forceful straight lines and scribbled geometric shapes, displays this organic unity; the words of the title, written in the same untidy black scrawl, are placed so close around the drawing that they appear to be part of it. [...]
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