Reconstruct the Universe with Fortunato Depero

Reconstruct the Universe with Fortunato Depero

March 11, 1915, the world gets introduced to a 22-year-old Italian artist born in Trentino, Fortunato Depero. His intention is to “reconstruct the universe”.

In this article, we will try to understand if, even if his name is not very famous today, he succeeded to leave behind a legacy worth his audacity and ambition. But first, let me take you back in 1913.

From Lacerba, and the first articles written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti to his first meeting with Giacomo Balla, the Futurist movement has always been inspiring for the young Fortunato Depero.

Balla saw Depero’s potential and in 1915 the two of them wrote the manifesto Ricostruzione futurista dell’universo (“Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe”). Nowadays only a few people have heard of him as Fortunato Depero has never been one of the Futurism’s leading members.

Futurism was poetry, painting, music, gastronomy but also fashion and so much more thanks to the contribution of Depero and Balla. The first form of Futurism’s goal was to “bring art into everyday life”, but was actually closed in fancy galleries and museums. It expressed through known and accepted art disciplines as sculpture and painting. According to Depero, the second form of Futurism came into people’s daily life thanks to advertising, interior design, designing furniture’s, fashion, architecture and so on… The Futurist movement was full of revolutionary aspirations and considered as aggressive. On February 20, 1909, the movement was launched with the issue of Marinetti’s first manifesto on the front page of Le Figaro: “There is no beauty that does not consist of struggle”.

After WWI, Marinetti allied the movement with fascism as he ran on a ticket with Mussolini. In 1928, Depero was the first and only Italian futurist to move to New York City, where he had success as an illustrator for magazines, but also in the design and interior design fields. In the 1930s and 40s Depero continued working although the movement started to wane due to the political choices of Marinetti. It’s very likely that you got to see one of his illustrations or cover for magazines including The New Yorker and Vogue. The futurist movement has taken to a new level advertising and considers it a new form of art, that may be associated with urban art. One of the most important collaboration of Depero was with Campari. Depero’s 1932 bottle, designed for the exclusive and new Campari Soda, product that would mark the history of alcohol production, is still in production nowadays. His reconstruction of the universe was mainly aesthetic, but we must concede that Fortunato Depero was one of the first artist that managed to bring art into our everyday life from back then to nowadays.