Giacomo Balla: From Abstract Futurism to Iconic Futurism

21.03.2019 - 17.06.2019

Palazzo Merulana presents Giacomo Balla. From abstract Futurism to iconic Futurism, an exhibition curated by Fabio Benzi and centered on the famous painting Primo Carnera of 1933.

An exceptional work of the Futurist Master’s production. Painted on both sides, with a Vaprofumo part from 1926, a typically Futurist subject that was exhibited in 1928 at the solo show that Balla gave to the Amateurs and Cultori of Rome and that fully represents the playful synaesthetic system of the Futurist Balliano of the time: the clear shapes, soft colors, metallic and gilded, are intended to evoke the olfactory impression emitted by a perfume bottle; the curious „pierced“ shape of the picture represents the nostrils that perceive the smell with the two openings at the top.

On the back of the work in 1933, the artist paints Primo Carnera, which is clearly inspired by a photo of Elio Luxardo , a friend of Marinetti (whose photo is in Piazza Adriana) and author of an impressive portrait of the boxer published on the front page of the “ Gazzetta dello Sport “ in 1933, when he became World Champion.
This image, diffused simultaneously throughout the globe, constitutes the iconographic basis of Balla’s painting.

The intention to match the image painted with the effect of the rotogravure is made by the artist by applying to the bottom of the painting a metal net on which he then paints, causing a „screening“ effect, identical to that produced by the images in newspaper printing.

An intentional comparison, for the extraordinary period, with the means of mass diffusion of the image: a fundamental element, many years later, of the figurative universe of American „pop art“ (from Warhol to Lichtenstein).

It is evident that Balla studied a possible development and renewal of Futurism by finding inspiration, in harmony with the daily sensibility of the people, in the imaginary inspired by cinema, by fashion and current affairs photography, which is browsed daily in glossy magazines, which is simultaneously watched and imitated by millions of people
The „avant-garde“ of taste is a sort of mass imaginary, of „mass vanguard“, a concept that he underlines in a futurist proclamation published in 1930.

The exhibition therefore proposes to investigate this passage of style, which experiments with images that are strongly associated, almost violently, with those of the media of the time, with the nascent iconicity of media stars (sports and cinema).

In addition to some more explicitly futurist paintings executed in the same years, the works are shown in the exhibition, featuring works made with the “screening” technique, comparing them with the images of the stars, created by great photographers such as Luxardo and Ghergo, and with magazines era.

Giacomo Balla (1871–1958) is one of the first protagonists of Italian divisionism, when in the early 1900s he began to paint pictures of a matrix pointillist, without fully adhering to the program of his greatest exponents. He then became a leading exponent of Futurism, signing with Marinetti and others including Boccioni, Carrà and Russolo, the posters that sanctioned the theoretical aspects of the movement, the first in 1909 and in particular the following year, the Manifesto of Futurist painters. After several years of active involvement, in 1937 he wrote a letter to the Perseus newspaper declaring himself a stranger to futurist activities: the works of the 1930s are marked by a return, albeit innovative, to figuration.

Full price € 10.00
Reduced € 8.00
young people under 27, adults over 65, active teachers, belonging to
affiliated groups Free
children under 7 , one teacher for every 10 students, one companion for every 10 people, a disabled person with a guide , tourist guides with license also on occasion of inspection

Buy the exhibition ticket

Educational visits to the exhibition

Sunday 24 March, 11.00
Sunday 7 April, 11.00
Sunday 21 April, 11.00
Monday 22 April, 11.00
Thursday 25 April, 11.00
Wednesday 1 May, 11.00
Sunday 5 May, 11.00
Sunday 19 May, 11.00
Sunday 2 June, 11.00
Sunday 16 June, 11.00

Full price € 5.00 + entrance ticket to the exhibition (Full price € 10; Reduced ticket € 8)
Reduced € 4.00 for Palazzo Merulana Pass holders (access to the free exhibition)
Purchase the ticket for the guided tour

Teaching by reservation for groups and schools € 100.00

Location: Palazzo Merulana, Via Merulana, Rome
Date: from 21 March to 17 June 2019
Cost: 10 Euros


Palazzo Merulana, Via Merulana, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy


10 EUR

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.