‘Elasticity’ Umberto Boccioini
Museo del Novecento
‘Elasticity’ Umberto Boccioini
Museo del Novecento

It would be a minor miracle to achieve a small percentage of Umberto Boccioni’s creative output in 66 years…. well 67 years to be precise.

“We shall sing the great masses shaken with work, pleasure, or rebellion; we shall sing the multicoloured and polyphonic tidal waves of revolution in the modern metropolis.” The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism. Marinetti

The influence of Cubism on the Futurist painter Boccioni is apparent in this detail from the painting ‘Elasticity’ (below) and the watercolour study (above). For me, the art world has not moved significantly beyond Cubism in the last 100 years. Cubism established the dissolution of space and time, Futurism added a dynamic context focusing on kinetics.

Once you have decided that the world is multi-faceted and in constant motion, the notion of a fixed viewpoint collapses under the weight of reason and quantum physics. Time waits for no man. Experimental artists, painters, photographers and filmmakers continue to ‘push’ against a wide-open door. The horse has long since bolted.

The Cubists penetrated the illusionistic space of the canvas, and from that moment on, the only way back was a harmless preoccupation with design and a modicum of self-delusion. But why worry, it has kept us all therapeutically occupied ever since.

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‘Mercurial’ is a painting I have just completed for the ‘Cambridge Envisaged’ Exhibition; the composition, structure and style closely follows the other images in the series. I have retained the square format, recurring geometric shapes and warm tonality seen in previous works. The influence of American abstract expressionism is visible in the flatness and absence of overt representation; at the same time I have tried to convey a sense of the architectural qualities of the city of Cambridge. The painting is designed as a bridge between two different vantage points, an aerial or plan view of  buildings, rivers and parks and a vertical ‘stacking’ of these interconnected and interchangeable motifs.  The Cubists kaleidoscopic rendering of physical objects and space has liberated us all to see the world through our own eyes and intuition.

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‘Mercurial’ Close up detail