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27: Futurist Books, part I

October 11, 2010

Now lets take a quick stop over in Italy. When I was in Rome a couple years back for an exhibition (at the excellent House of Love and Dissent), I picked up a cool exhibition catalog for a 2006 show called The Book as a Work of Art at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome. It contains a great collection of avant-garde books, including 21 Futurist books produced over two decades (1911-1934), many of which I had never seen before. Although way out of my depth in both design and art history knowledge, I wanted to share these Futurist covers. Many Italian Futurists yoked themselves to Fascism after World War I, but I am unsure of exactly who did and didn’t outside of Marinetti’s enthusiastic support for Mussolini (and Mussolini’s general disregard for both the Futurists and art in general). I’m going to (somewhat arbitrarily) split these covers up into early Futurist and post-WWI Futurist. By today’s standards, some of them look quite staid, but I believe for the time and the printing method (set type), the tilted lines of type, overprinting, and multiple typefaces were pretty innovative. Enjoy part one!
(ps. It is the insides of some of these books that are truly breathtaking, but as this is a blog about covers, I’ll stick to the outsides for now…)
These are in chronological order, except for the book above, which is: Ardengo Soffici, Bifzf+18. Simultaneità e Chimismi lirici [Simultaneity and lyrical Chemistry] (Firenze: Edizioni della Voce, 1915). Titles are very roughly translated in the [brackets].
Anton Giulio Bragaglia, Fotodinamismo futurista [Photo futurist dynamism] (Roma: Nalato, 1911).
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Zang Tumb Tumb (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1914).

Auro D’Alba, Baionette. Versi liberi e parole in libertà [Free verse and free words] (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1915).
Corrado Govoni, Rarefazioni e Parole in libertà [Words in freedom and rarefactions] (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1915).

Carlo Carrà, Guerrapittura [Warpaint] (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1915).

Francesco Cangiullo, Piedigrotta [Footcave] (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1916).
Francesco Meriano, Equatore nottorno. Parole in libertà [Equator don’t come back. Free Words] (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1916).

Volt [Vincenzo Fani], Archi voltaici. Parole in libertà e sintesi teatrali [Arcs. Free words and synthesis stage] (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1916).
Francesco Cangiullo, Caffèconcerto. Alfabeto a sorpresa [Coffee concert. Alphabet surprise] (Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1919).

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