Artist and historian Mikhail Karasik used old newspaper and literary sources to shed light on the legendary trip to Russia made by Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti (1876-1944), the founder of Futurism.
Karasik writes: “The Triumph of Futurism was the title of a show planned by the director of the new mechanistic and urban movement in modern art. In Russia, however, the production unexpectedly underwent a change of genre, taking the director himself by surprise. The Russian performers—Futurist poets and artists—had been allocated technical walk-on parts.”
Instead of acquiring pupils and associates for his movement, Marinetti found himself up against sabotage and misunderstanding. The Russian Futurists not only refused to recognize Marinetti as their leader but sought to enlarge their own branch of Futurism.
It was only towards the end of Marinetti’s trip that the situation improved but the result was the realization that Russian and Italian Futurism had little in common. Italian Futurism promoted urbanism, the cult of technology and machines, and the destruction of tradition and old culture. Russian Futurism focused on folk culture and the Russian icon.
According to Karasik, after the October Revolution, Futurism’s political direction also changed. The Russian branch became Communist (Komfutu was a Communist Futurist organization led by Mayakovsky), while Italian Futurism turned to Fascism.
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