This can be a simple re-staging – using photography – of an existing painting, drawing or print, or a more elaborate figurative tableau.
My photograph is based on a sculpture by Futurist Umberto Boccioni called “Unique forms of continuity in space” (1913) In true Futurist manner, I have ignored the traditional view of art reflected in the requirements of this exercise asking me to re-make a drawing or painting and have gone for a sculpture.
The ideology behind Futurism is to represent movement, speed, the experience of flux, the interpenetration of objects and a synthetic continuity of motion. Boccioni was against formal sculpture and monuments which revered traditional human forms and materials, and maintained that everything surrounding our body intersects it and divides it into sections by forming arabesques of curves and straight lines. In his Futurist sculpture manifesto, Boccioni maintained that “The aim of sculpture is the abstract reconstruction of the planes and volumes which determine form, and not their figurative value.” (From the manifesto) This is what I have tried to achieve in my work. I have also followed the principle that “The straight line is the only means that can lead us to the primitive virginity of a new architectonic construction of sculptural masses.” Again, true to Futurist spirit, I have deliberately based my work on a wheel – the true mechanical device which can facilitate speed. Equally, Boccioni maintained that “One must destroy the systematic use of the nude and the traditional concept of the statue and the monument.” The straight line, in arabesque, in my composition is formed by lining up the eyes present from top right to bottom left. There are plenty of curves with the wheels arranged so that they emphasise the circular composition of the piece. The black spaces between the items stress that this is a photograph of a sculpture and not of a 2D object.
My composition is entitled “Love stories on a rocky road at speed.” Although Futurist artistic expressions were not known for their humour, there is no reason why it should not be part of it in this re-working of it. The inclusion of a transvestite in the machine world also makes the piece more topical. I have used my photographs of motorbikes and of two chairs by Ron Arad which I saw in an exhibition in 2010, plus a photo taken by my friend & artist, Alan McGrath. At this point I must add that Boccioni was also anti-women but for warfare and violence. The viewer can decide if these are intrinsic to my composition.
In 1912, Marcel Duchamp created his cubist painting entitled “Nude descending a staircase 2” and one can see the cubist influence on Boccioni’s ideas for his manifesto and his sculpture.
Boccioni was a painter, poet and sculptor and also wrote a Futurist manifesto of poetry. His poetry arises from the notion that sculptures must have a lyrical power and claimed that “Futurist poetry is a spontaneous, uninterrupted flow of analogies, each of which is intuitively summed up in its essential substantive. From this come untrammelled imagination and words in freedom.”(idem) My image has extracts from the Futurist manifesto in the style of Marinetti, another Futurist poet, who used to write around his drawings.
I greatly enjoyed the film of how Daniel Gordon puts his work together and would like to emulate his layering one day.
My re-worked image looks nothing like the original but has all the elements and concepts of the rationale of creating the Futurist sculpture, just as Wendy McMurdo’s images bear no resemblance to the original art which inspired them (See my previous post).