Sep 10

FuturBalla: Life Light Speed – Ester Coen Editor  A review by Margaret  Graham

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FuturBalla: Life Light Speed – Ester Coen Editor

Born in Turin in 1871 Giacomo Balla was in time to see Rome become the new capital of Italy. Turin up to then the political focal point of the Risorgimento, and capital, was impoverished. This persuaded his mother to move to Rome in 1895 to give her son greater opportunities.

It seems that the move to this burgeoning city, still raw in many ways but growing into itself, mirrored what was happening to Balla. New sights, sounds and energy fascinated him. He loved the countryside, abhorred the filthy streets and determined not to become used to them. He learned from the artistic work of others, and applied it to the foundations of the perceptions that he had absorbed in Turin, not Rome, from lithographer Cassina and the photographers of the Bertieri family. It was these early years that honed Balla’s love of detail, and unusual and personal angles, and Rome that appeared to give him the breadth to develop his style, and create subjects which ooze life, personality, and that indefinable ‘past’ which creates the present of a person.

All this I garnered from FuturBalla: Life Light Speed – Ester Coen Editor.

The illustrations of Balla’s work are breathtaking, the presentation simple and without adornment. The works featured are from public and private collections in both Italy and abroad and clearly  illustrate the path of his creativity. There are more than 200 of these illustrations, accompanied by essays from the editor and contributors. It is not just an homage to an artist but an examination of one who developed an original style. A style which progressed from rich glowing streaks, to molten contrasts of light and dark, always employing bold perspective. Ultimately,  and inevitably one feels, moving to futurism – what else.

The presentation of the monograph is as clear yet detailed as the artist himself. Bravo. Fascinating and enhancing.

FuturBalla:Life Light Speed – £32 Skira  ISBN 978-88-572-3386-4