Slightly offtopic, but relevant: The awesomly named Robotron buildings are threatened by demolition. They were part of the leading computer manufacturer “Robotron” of the GDR. The “Ostmodern” campaign is trying to save the cafeteria at the very least.
H. Zimmer / P. Schramm / S. Thiel: Robotron, 1970–1971, Dresden, Germany
Luigi Colombo, who went by the Futurist pseudonym Fillia (his mother’s maiden name), died of tuberculosis on 10 February 1936 at only 31 years of age. Fillia was born in Revello, in the province of Cuneo, but spent most of his life in Turin. A precocious autodidact, Fillia was a poet, playwrite, political activist, novelist, and–most famously–a painter.
Fillia represents one of the odder members of the later Futurists, and his works contain surprising and often highly progressive social theory. Fillia’s early political alignment was with the Communist Party, headed by Amedeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci. In 1922, following the Biennio Rosso (1918-1920, when Italy was temporarily veering toward Communism), Fillia and two others published the only know work that explicitly attempted to bring together Communist theory with Futurist praxis. It was a small pamphlet of poetry titled 1+1+1=1. Dinamite. Poesie Proletarie. Rosso + Nero. Fillia would abandon overt communism, in favor of apolitical neutrality, when Marinetti and Benito Mussolini reconciled in 1924, and Italy turned toward fascism.
Fillia’s next works, while he was beginning to develop his painting, were a seven act play, three novels, and several manifestos and short stories, that carried through many of Fillia’s Communist thematics, and introduced the most surprising thematic of his works–his radically progressive feminism. In this works, 25 years before Simone de Beauvoir would publish Le Deuxieme Sexe, Fillia declared men and women to be fundamentally equal in all things, and that gender difference was a mere social construct. (Futurism’s relationship to women and feminism is very complicated, and there is significant revisions going on in the scholarship in recent years.)
Fillia’s earliest pictorial influences were Enrico Prampolini and Giacomo Balla. The fragmented, brightly colored images were typical of earlier Futurism. Fillia’s work then shifted focus, nearing on biomorphic abstraction. Later, Fillia would go on to be one of the primary movers of Aeropainting, and of Futurist Sacred Art.
Futurism famously sought to “place the viewer at the center of the painting,” and would surround the viewer with the sensation of velocity transferred into pictorial form (Boccioni, et al, “Futurist Painting: Technical Manifesto” 1910). Flight, however, would entirely change the Futurist paradigm. The Italians were passionate about flight, as was most of Europe, and the Futurist were doubly impassioned. “The Manifesto of Aeropainting” (1929) declared that the viewer be shifted up into the cockpit of an airplane moving at speed. Mostly this led to works such as Tullio Crali’s and Benedetta’s, however, Fillia’s aeropainting, and that of Enrico Prampolini tended toward a more “cosmic” understanding of what aeropainting was.
Futurist Sacred Art has been a thorn in the side of Futurist studies for decades, as it has been largely dismissed as “fascist” and “regressive” although that’s a simplistic reading in many cases. This led to its exclusion from the Guggenheim’s otherwise phenomenal and groundbreaking retrospective of Futurism in 2014, the first to be held in the US. Fillia’s “sacred” paintings only ostensibly demonstrate Catholic dogma–in reality they are riddled with peculiarities and often heretical implications.
Fillia’s last major work was to co-author The Futurist Cookbook with F.T. Marinetti. The cookbook, and the recipes, meals and serate included in it, are essentially an extended piece of performance, art, which challenged what precisely one considers “nourishment” and how
Andreoli, Annamaria, and Giovanni Caprara, eds. Volare! Futurismo, aviomania, tecnica e
cultura italiana del volo, 1903-1940. Roma: De Luca, 2003
Painting: Oil on canvas, 130.2 x 88.9 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Backstory and description of this painting courtesy of metmuseum.org:
Pierre Matisse (1900-1989), the second son of the painter Henri Matisse, came to New York in 1924 to try his luck as an art dealer. In 1931 he opened a gallery in the Fuller Building on Fifty-seventh Street, where, for the next fifty-eight years, he introduced to America some of the best modern European art. Among the artists he championed were Mirò, Balthus, Giacometti, Dubuffet, and Tanguy.
In 1938 Matisse gave Balthus his first one-man exhibition in the States. During his annual summer visit to Paris, Matisse posed in the artist’s forbiddingly austere studio at 3, cour de Rohan. While the Frenchman was known for his reticence and reserve, Balthus depicted him as a relaxed, jaunty American businessman with a loud patterned tie in a relaxed posture.