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Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture Umberto Boccioni The sculpture that we can see in the monuments and exhibitions

of Europe affords us so lamentable a spectacle of barbarism and lumpishness that my Futurist eye withdraws from it in horror and disgust. We see almost e erywhere the blind and clumsy imitation of all the formulae inherited from the past! an imitation which the cowardice of tradition and the listlessness of facility ha e systematically encouraged. Sculptural art in "atin countries is perishing under the ignominious yo#e of $reece and of Michelangelo% a yo#e carried with the ease of s#ill in France and Belgium% but with the most dreary stupefaction in &taly. We find in $ermanic countries a ridiculous obsession with a helleni'ed $othic style that is industriali'ed in Berlin and ener ated in Munich by hea y(handed professors. Sla ic countries% on the other hand% are distinguished by a chaotic mixture of $ree# archaisms% demons concei ed by )ordic literature% and monsters born of oriental imagination. &t is a tangle of influence ranging from the sibylline and excessi e detail of the *siatic spirit to the puerile and grotes+ue ingenuity of "aplanders and Es#imos. &n all these manifestations of sculpture% from the most mechanical to those mo ed by inno ating currents% there persists the same error! the artist copies li e models and studies classical statues with the artless con iction that he can find a style corresponding to modern feeling% without gi ing up the traditional concept of sculptural form. ,ne must add also that this concept% with its age(old ideal of beauty% ne er gets away from the period of -hidias and the artistic decadence which followed it. &t defies explanation how generations of sculptors can continue to construct dummies without as#ing themsel es why all the exhibition halls of sculpture ha e become reser oirs of boredom and nausea% or why inaugurations of public monuments% rende' ous of uncontrollable hilarity. This is not borne out by painting which% by its slow but continuous reno ations% harshly condemns the plagiaristic and sterile wor# of all the sculptors of our time. When on earth will sculptors understand that to stri e to build and to create with Egyptian% $ree#% or Michelangeles+ue elements is .ust as absurd as trying to draw water from an empty well with a bottomless buc#et/ There can be no renewal of an art

if at the same time its essence is not renewed% that is the ision and the concept of the line and masses which form its arabes+ue. &t is not simply by reproducing the exterior aspects of life that art becomes the expression of its time0 this is why sculpture as it was understood by artists of the past century and of today is a monstrous anachronism. Sculpture absolutely could not ma#e progress in the narrow path it was assigned by the academic concept of the nude. *n art which has to undress completely a man or woman in order to begin its emoti e function% is stillborn. -ainting fortified% intensified% and enlarged itself than#s to the landscape and the surroundings that the &mpressionist painters made act simultaneously on the human figure and on ob.ects. &t is by prolonging their efforts that we ha e enriched painting with our interpenetration of planes 1Technical Manifesto of Futurist -ainting% 22 *pril 23245. Sculpture will find a new source of emotion and% therefore% of style% by extending its plasticity into the immense domain which the human spirit has stupidly considered until now the realm of the subdi ided% the impalpable% and the inexpressible. ,ne must start with the central nucleus of the ob.ect one wants to create% in order to disco er the new forms which connect it in isibly and mathematically to the isible plastic infinite and to the interior plastic infinite. The new plasticity will thus be the translation in plaster% bron'e% glass% wood% or any other material% of atmospheric planes that lin# and intersect things. What & ha e called physical transcendentalism 1"ecture on Futurist -ainting at the 6ircolo *rtistico in 7ome% May 23225 can render plastically the sympathies and mysterious affinities which produce the reciprocal and formal influences of the ob.ects8 planes. Sculpture should gi e life to ob.ects by rendering their extension into space palpable% systematic% and plastic% because no one can deny any longer that one ob.ect continues at the point another begins% and that e erything surrounding our body 1bottle% automobile% house% tree% street5 intersects it and di ides it into sections by forming an arabes+ue of cur es and straight lines. There ha e been two modern attempts to renew sculpture! one is decorati e% for the sa#e of the style% the other is decidedly plastic% for the sa#e of the materials. The first remained anonymous and disordered% due to the lac# of a technical spirit

capable of coordinating it. &t remained lin#ed to the economic necessities of officialdom and only produced traditional pieces of sculpture more or less decorati ely synthesi'ed% and surrounded by architectural or decorati e forms. *ll the houses and big buildings constructed with modern taste and intentions manifest this attempt in marble% cement% or sheets of metal. The second attempt% more serious% disinterested% and poetic% but too isolated and fragmentary% lac#ed the synthesi'ing spirit capable of imposing a law. &n any wor# of reno ation% it is not enough to belie e with fer or0 one must also choose% hollow out% and then impose the route to be followed. & am referring to a great &talian sculptor! to Medardo 7osso% the only great modern sculptor who tried to enlarge the hori'on of sculpture by rendering into plastic form the influences of a gi en en ironment and the in isible atmospheric lin#s which attach it to the sub.ect. 6onstantin Meunier contributed absolutely nothing new to sculptural feeling. 9is statues are nearly always powerful fusions of the heroic $ree# style and the athletic humility of the ste edore% the sailor% or the miner. 9is concept of plasticity and structure of sculpture in the round and bas(relief remained that of the -arthenon and the classical hero. 9e has% ne ertheless% the ery great merit of ha ing been the first to try to ennoble sub.ects that before his time were despised% or else abandoned to realistic reproduction. Bourdelle displays his personality by gi ing to the sculptural bloc# a passionate and iolent se erity of masses that are abstractly architectonic. Endowed with the passionate% somber% and sincere temperament of a see#er% he could not% unfortunately% deli er himself from a certain archaici'ing influence% nor from the anonymous influence of all the stone(cutters of $othic cathedrals. 7odin unfolded a greater intellectual agility% which permitted him to pass with ease from the &mpressionism of his Bal'ac to the irresolution of his Burghers of 6alais% and to all his other wor#s mar#ed by the hea y influence of Michelangelo. 9e displays in his sculpture a restless inspiration% a grandiose lyrical power% which would be truly modern if Michelangelo and :onatello had not already preceded him with nearly identical forms some four hundred years ago% and if his gifts could ha e brought to life a completely re(created reality. ,ne finds then in the wor# of these three talents the three

influences of three different periods! $ree# in Meunier8s wor#% $othic in Bourdelle8s% &talian 7enaissance in 7odin8s. The wor# of Medardo 7osso% on the other hand% is re olutionary% ery modern% more profound% and of necessity restricted. There are hardly any heroes or symbols in his sculptural wor#% instead the plane of the forehead of one of his women or children embodies and points to a release toward space which one day will ha e in the history of the human mind an importance far superior to that now ac#nowledged by contemporary critics. Unfortunately% the ine itably &mpressionistic laws of his endea or limited the researches of Medardo 7osso to a sort of high or low relief0 it is proof that he still concei ed of the figure as an isolated world% with a traditional essence and episodic intentions. The artistic re olution of Medardo 7osso% although ery important% starts from a pictorial point of iew too much concerned with the exterior% and entirely neglects the problem of a new construction of planes. 9is sensual modelling% which tries to imitate the lightness of the &mpressionists8 brushstro#e% creates a fine effect of intense and immediate sensation% but it ma#es him wor# too +uic#ly after nature% and depri es his art of any mar# of uni ersality. The artistic re olution of Medardo 7osso thus has both the irtues and the faults of &mpressionism in painting. ,ur Futurist re olution also began there but% by continuing &mpressionism% it has come to the opposite pole. &n sculpture as well as in painting% one can renew art only by see#ing the style of mo ement that is% by forming systematically and definiti ely into a synthesis that which &mpressionism offered in a fragmentary% accidental% and conse+uently analytical way. This systemati'ation of the ibration of light and of the interpenetrations of planes will produce Futurist sculpture! it will be architectonic in character% not only from the point of iew of the construction of the masses% but also because the sculptural bloc# will contain the architectonic elements of the sculptural milieu in which the sub.ect li es. ;&(we(Boccioni% by Umberto Boccioni< )aturally we will create a sculpture of en ironment. * Futurist sculptural composition will contain in itself the mar elous mathematical and geometric elements of modern ob.ects. These ob.ects will not be placed alongside the statue% li#e so many explanatory attributes or separate decorati e elements but%

following the laws of a new conception of harmony% they will be embedded in the muscular lines of a body. We will see% for example% the wheel of a motor pro.ecting from the armpit of a machinist% or the line of a table cutting through the head of a man who is reading% his boo# in turn subdi iding his stomach with the spread fan of its sharp(edged pages. &n the current tradition of sculpture% the statue8s form is etched sharply against the atmospheric bac#ground of the milieu in which it stands. Futurist painting has surpassed this conception of the rhythmic continuity of lines in a figure and of its absolute isolation% without contact with the bac#ground and the en eloping in isible space. =Futurist poetry>% according to the poet Marinetti% =after ha ing destroyed traditional prosody and created free erse% now abolishes syntax and the "atin sentence. Futurist poetry is a spontaneous% uninterrupted flow of analogies% each of which is intuiti ely summed up in its essential substanti e. From this come untrammelled imagination and ?words in freedom8 >. The Futurist music of Balilla -ratella destroys the craniometric tyranny of rhythm. Why% then% should sculpture remain shac#led by laws which ha e no .ustification/ "et us brea# them courageously and proclaim the complete abolition of the finished line and the closed statue. "et us open up the figure li#e a window and enclose within it the en ironment in which it li es. "et us proclaim that the en ironment must form part of the plastic bloc# as a special world regulated by its own laws. "et us proclaim that the sidewal# can climb up your table% that your head can cross the street% and that at the same time your household lamp can suspend between one house and another the immense spider(web of its dusty rays. "et us proclaim that all the perceptible world must hurry toward us% amalgamating itself with us% creating a harmony that will be go erned only by creati e intuition. * leg% an arm% or any ob.ect whatsoe er% being considered important only if an element of plastic rhythm% can easily be abolished in Futurist sculpture% not in order to imitate a $ree# or 7oman fragment% but to obey a harmony the sculptor wishes to create. * sculptural ensemble% li#e a painting% can only resemble itself% because in art the human figure and the ob.ects should li e outside of and despite all logic of appearances.

* figure can ha e an arm clothed and the rest of the body nude. The different lines of a ase of flowers can follow one another nimbly while blending with the lines of the hat and nec#. Transparent planes of glass or celluloid% strips of metal% wire% interior or exterior electric lights can indicate the planes% the tendencies% the tones and half(tones of a new reality. By the same to#en% a new intuiti e modulation of white% grey and blac# can augment the emoti e force of the planes% while a colored plane can accentuate iolently the abstract significance of a plastic al e. What we ha e already said about line(forces in painting 1-reface( Manifesto of the 6atalogue of the First Futurist Exhibition in -aris% ,ctober 23225 applies e+ually to sculpture &n effect% we will gi e life to the static muscular line by merging it with the dynamic line(force. &t will nearly always be a straight line% which is the only one corresponding to the interior simplicity of the synthesis that we oppose to the baro+ue exterior of analysis 9owe er% the straight line will not lead us to imitate the Egyptians% the primiti es% and the sa ages% by following the absurd example of certain modern sculptors who ha e hoped that way to deli er themsel es from $ree# influence. ,ur straight line will be ali e and palpitating0 it will lend itself to the demands of the infinite expressions of materials% and its fundamental% na#ed se erity will express the se erity of steel% which characteri'es the lines of modern machinery Finally% we can affirm that the sculptor must not shrin# from any means in order to obtain a reality. )othing is more stupid than to fear to de iate from the art we practice. There is neither painting% nor sculpture% nor music% nor poetry. The only truth is creation. 6onse+uently% if a sculptural composition needs a special rhythm of mo ement to augment or contrast the fixed rhythm of the sculptural ensemble 1necessity of the wor# of art5% then one could use a little motor which would pro ide a rhythmic mo ement adapted to a gi en plane and a gi en line. ,ne must not forget that the tic#(toc# and the mo ement of the hands of a cloc#% the rise and fall of a piston in its cylinder% the meshing and unmeshing of two gears with the continual disappearance and reappearance of their little steel rectangles% the fren'y of a fly(wheel% the whirl of a propeller% all these are

plastic and pictorial elements of which Futurist sculptural wor# must ma#e use. For example! a al e opening and closing creates a rhythm as beautiful but infinitely newer than that of a li ing eyelid. 6onclusions 2. The aim of sculpture is the abstract reconstruction of the planes and olumes which determine form% not their figurati e alue. @. ,ne must abolish in sculpture% as in all the arts% the traditionally =sublime> sub.ect matter. A. Sculpture cannot ma#e its goal the episodic reconstruction of reality. &t should use absolutely all realities in order to recon+uer the essential elements of plastic feeling. 6onse+uently% the Futurist sculptor percei es the body and its parts as plastic 'ones% and will introduce into the sculptural composition planes of wood or metal% immobile or made to mo e% to embody an ob.ect0 spherical and hairy forms for heads of hair0 half(circles of glass% if it is a +uestion of a ase0 iron wires or trellises% to indicate an atmospheric plane% etc.% etc. B. &t is necessary to destroy the pretended nobility% entirely literary and traditional% of marble and bron'e% and to deny s+uarely that one must use a single material for a sculptural ensemble. The sculptor can use twenty different materials% or e en more% in a single wor#% pro ided that the plastic emotion re+uires it. 9ere is a modest sample of these materials! glass% wood% cardboard% cement% iron% horsehair% leather% cloth% mirrors% electric lights% etc. C. &t is necessary to proclaim loudly that in the intersection of the planes of a boo# and the angles of a table% in the straight lines of a match% in the frame of a window% there is more truth than in all the tangle of muscles% the breasts and thighs of heroes and Denuses which enrapture the incurable stupidity of contemporary sculptors. E. &t is only by a ery modern choice of sub.ect that one can succeed in disco ering new plastic ideas.

F. The straight line is the only means that can lead us to the primiti e irginity of a new architectonic construction of sculptural masses and 'ones. G. There can be a reawa#ening only if we ma#e a sculpture of milieu or en ironment% because only in this way can plasticity be de eloped% by being extended into space in order to model it. By means of the sculptor8s clay% the Futurist today can at last model the atmosphere which surrounds things. 3. What the Futurist sculptor creates is to a certain extent an ideal bridge which .oins the exterior plastic infinite to the interior plastic infinite. &t is why ob.ects ne er end0 they intersect with innumerable combinations of attraction and innumerable shoc#s of a ersion. The spectator8s emotions will occupy the center of the sculptural wor#. 24. ,ne must destroy the systematic use of the nude and the traditional concept of the statue and the monument. 22. Finally% one must at all cost refuse commissions of sub.ects determined in ad ance% and which therefore cannot contain a pure construction of completely renewed plastic elements.