• Biography of Giacomo Balla

GIACOMO BALLA was born in Turin in 1871. After finishing his studies he enrolled in the ’Accademia Albertina. A fundamental stage in his development was his stay in Paris in 1900-01, where he encountered the Post-Impressionist research into light conducted by Seurat and Signac. In 1910 he signed, along with Boccioni, Severini, Carrà and Russolo, the Manifesto of the Futurist Painters, which drew on the contents of the manifesto published by Marinetti the previous year, and which was followed shortly afterwards by the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting. In 1915 he and Fortunato Depero signed the manifesto of the Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe, which set out to extend Futurist aesthetics to every aspect of the life, a fundamental moment for the development of the European avant-gardes. Even before Boccioni’s death in 1916, he had assumed a leading role within the movement. He worked incessantly, participating in the making of the film Vita futurista (1916), signing with Marinetti and others the Manifesto of Futurist Cinema and in 1917 creating the scenery for Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Feu d’artifice, performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. In 1919 he took part in the Grand National Futurist Exhibition at the Galleria Centrale in Palazzo Cova in Milan. Right through the twenties he showed at the main exhibitions of the Futurist group. In 1925 he was present at the Rome Biennale and in 1926 at the Venice Biennale, while in 1928 he held a solo exhibition at the ‘Amatori e Cultori’. In 1929 he adhered for a short time to the Manifesto of Aeropainting, but at the beginning of the thirties he made an abrupt break with Futurism, declaring that ‘pure art lies in absolute realism, without which it lapses into decorative and ornamental forms’.
He carried on with his artistic activity up until his death, producing a vision of ‘photographic’ realism that in many ways anticipated ‘Pop Art’.
Balla died on 1 March 1958 in Rome.