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Giacomo Balla

Turin 1871 -
Rom 1958


The painter, sculptor, stage designer and designer Giacomo Balla was born in Turin in 1871. The autodidact first painted landscapes based on nature and portraits. Short, irregular brush strokes and agitated lighting already showed his closeness to Divisionism. In 1900 Bala spent nine months in Paris, where he discovered the existencial space of the metropolis on the light-flooded and crowded nightly boulevards. The impressions gathered in Paris later influenced his futuristic pictures, in which he used a chronophotographic analysis of movement taken from photography and artificial light as a means of expression. Marinetti's famous thesis on literary Futurism was published in 1909. In it Balla found his own ideas confirmed. In 1910 Balla wrote the 'Manifesto dei pittori futuristi' and the 'Manifesto tecnico della pittura futurista' together with U. Boccioni, C. Carrą, G. Severini and L. Russolo. Bala's first futuristic picture 'Dinamismo di un cane al guinzaglio' (1912) shows, how Bala analysed movement and expressed the various phases of movement by superimposing the individual abstracted shapes. From 1913 Giacomo Balla signed his pictures 'Futur Balla'. The chromatic dissection of light and the segmentation of moving objects and figures into geometrical shapes were taken to the limits of abstraction. Balla also worked in the area of applied art. He designed clothing and produced carpets, vases and lamps. He experimented with objects made of various materials such as cardbord, fabric, aluminium foil, mirrors and colored glass. With these 'complessi plastici' Balla became one of the co-founders of abstract sculpture. Around 1930 Balla gradually moved away from Futurism and in 1937 returned to traditional representational art and the veristic representation of themes from his youth. Giavomo Balla died in Rome in 1958.