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French Anarchism and Italian Futurism: 1890-1920


            ´╗┐Politics, art, and utopia in French anarchism and Italian futurism 1890-1920.
             In Paroles d'un revolte, Peter Kropotkin outlined a new vision for the arts as part of his anarchist philosophy, asserting that "the arts have a mission to accomplish for the achievement of the future society. Depict for us in your vivid style or in your fervent paintings the titanic struggle of the people against their oppressors; inflame young hearts with the beautiful breath of revolution which inspired our anarchism"1. This sentiment marks the beginning of a struggle commenced by the anarchists and brought to full fruition by the futurists, that of reappropriating the artistic sphere from the bourgeoisie; whether the French Salon for the anarchists or the passéist traditionalism in Italy, both movements aimed at the reintegration of art into a dynamic, creative relationship with both politics and society. Peter Burger argues that this process of dismantling the institutionalised 'art for art's sake' is the defining characteristic of the avant-garde in the early twentieth century,2 and seeing it through this lens it would appear that French anarchism laid the notably avant-garde aesthetic foundations, which later had a strong influence on the founder of Futurism- Fillipo Thomas Marinetti. As Taylor explains; "Already a familiar figure in the cafe society of Paris, Marinetti had met and become friendly with a number of important literary and artistic figures. he had written his first play Le Roi Bombance in admiring imitation of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi"3. Indeed, Marinetti's close links to French avant-garde artists is illustrated in his choice of a French, rather than Italian, newspaper for the launch of his Futurist movement, on February 20 1909 he published the first Futurist Manifesto in Paris paper 'Le Figaro' , a move indicative of a partial ideological and artistic overlap between the two movements.


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