he exhibition offers an opportunity to go back over Luigi Russolo’s entire artistic career. Reconstructions of his “Noisemakers”, the devices he invented for “intoning noises and adjusting them harmoniously and rhythmically”, will be put on show for the express purpose of enabling the public to interact with them. The exhibition also features the complete collection of his engravings and a nucleus of his Futurist and pre-Futurist paintings, along with works by the artists who were closest to him: Gaetano Previati, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Romolo Romani and Ugo Piatti. The exhibition is being produced with the Estorick Collection of Italian Art, of London, whose premises will host it from 4 October to 17 December. Luigi Russolo. Life and Works of a Futurist has been pieced together with the aid of the numerous documents in the Russolo archives, which are held in the Archive of the Twentieth Century at the MART. Starting out from this material, the curators have retraced all the creative milestones in the artist’s career, dividing the exhibition into six sections: relations with Lombard Symbolist and Divisionist painters, engravings and paintings from pre-Futurism to Futurism, music, post-Futurist painting, the Paris and Spanish period and, lastly, his return to Lombardy.
It was from the ideas expressed in the 1913 Manifesto of Noises that Russolo’s drew his experiments with the spectacular sound machines, called “Noisemakers”, that he used in his concerts and performances.
As he specified in the Manifesto, which takes the form of a letter written to the Futurist musician Balilla Pratella, Russolo’s research certainly did not tend towards cacophony, but had more of the taxonomic rigour of the scholar of acoustics and harmony, disciplines that Russolo set out to update: “Acoustics has taught us very little”, he wrote to Pratella, “as, when applied especially to the study of pure sounds, it has so far all but completely neglected the study of noises”. Hence a series of instruments designed to produce bangs, crackles, hums and shufflings.
Academic Directors Gabriella Belli and Roberta Cremoncini.
Curated by Franco Tagliapietra and Anna Gasparotto.
Organisation co-ordinated by Elisabetta Barisoni and Paola Pettenella
Catalogue by Skira.