Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space was the culmination of two years of drawing, painting and sculpting careful studies of human musculature by Umberto Boccioni. Boccioni was a principle figure in the Futurism movement who strove to depict a "synthetic continuity" of motion instead of an "analytical discontinuity" that he saw in artists like FrantiĊĦek Kupka and Marcel Duchamp.  In Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Boccioni attempts to communicate speed and forceful dynamism through sculpture -- a prevalent theme in most of his work. In doing so he creates an aerodynamic, fluid "anonymous superhuman figure" that seems to be gliding through space, it's form rippling outward as if it were being molded by the wind it was passing through. Art historian Joshua C. Taylor comments:
"The figure in Unique Forms of Continuity in Space strides forth, a symbol of vitality and strength, yet its impetuous step rests lightly on the ground as if the opposing air gave the figure wings. It is muscular without muscles, and massive without weight. The rhythms of its forms triumph over the limitations of the human stride to suggest unending movement into infinite space"
Boccioni,  tremendously exhilarated by the speed and force of new, twentieth century machinery, was very headstrong that Futurism was what art should be. In 1912 he wrote Manifesto tecnico della scultura futurista (Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture) . In it he bashed all other forms of sculpture worldwide:

"In all these manifestations of sculpture, from the most mechanical to those moved by innovating currents, there persists the same error: the artist copies live models and studies classical statues with the artless conviction that he can find a style corresponding to modern feeling, without giving up the traditional concept of sculptural form."
Despite his strong convictions to the contrary, even Boccioni's sculptures were reminiscent of classical works. In Unique forms of Continuity in Space there is an underlying resemblance to the Winged Victory of Samothrace; both demonstrating a sort of flowing movement. Through reshaping the figure and in the wake of the figure, respectively. The lack of arms in Unique Forms also pays tribute to Auguste Rodin's Walking Man


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