After discussing Futurism in class, our instructors led us on a field trip up to the Islington neighborhood and the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Artwork. The art is housed in small yet beautiful historic Georgian home. Today the rooms have been converted into small galleries where the work of Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla are displayed.
Futurism began in the early 1900s with a manifesto (violent and a bit misogynistic). Futurists worked to convey energy and vibration in order for the work to “move” in front of the viewer. I find theses artworks difficult to digest because the manifesto is so aggressive and bombastic. The work, which developed later, is interesting as artistic experiments within the language of movement. Umberto Boccioni’s sculpture, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, is a famous example of futurism. This sculpture is not in the Estorick Collection. You can find it at the Tate Modern and there is one also at the MoMA . In Unique Forms of Continuity in Space the figure is lurching forward, though not without resistance.
These are works found in the Estorick Collection:
The Estorick Collection also has exhibitions dedicated to solo artists. This winter (January 13 – April 2, 1012) Alberto Burri’s work is on display. Once a doctor, Burri was captured during World War II and spent time as a prisoner of war in Gainsville, Texas. While waiting for the war to end and his release, Burri began to paint and once back in Italy he moved from that medium into mixed media and sculpture. His exhibit is a collection of work containing plastics, ceramics, burlap, metal and tar.