Synthesis of Communications: A Spiritual Voice Amidst Belligerent Noise
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This study presents Benedetta Cappa Marinetti’s Sintesi delle comunicazioni (Synthesis of Communications) murals, a public commission for the Palermo Post Office, as a vital contribution to the Italian Futurist Movement (1909–1944). Benedetta (1897– 1977), who went by her first name only as a way of rejecting patriarchal ideals, defied modern demands placed upon Italian women and artists in the first half of the twentieth century. This study reaches beyond the constructs of past scholarship, which stressed her gender and her place among other women in the movement. Instead, this study argues that her participation in the Fascist Regime, her appreciation of modern technologies, and her understanding of the complexities of the spirituality deserve more intensive scholarly study. The following chapters demonstrate the ways in which Benedetta’s depiction of utopian worlds shows her yearning for a harmonious future, seen through the elements of industrialization and nature. Benedetta’s work must be assessed through a political lens, because Fascism had such a strong hold on her ideals. Through the examination of the socio-political influences on Futurist art, the ways in which her participation in Fascist ideologies prepared her for this commission become evident. However, with the added spiritual values of Second–wave Futurism, her work conveys a vision of fantasy, one that never comes to real–world fruition. I address how the constructs of twentieth–century science and technology provided her with a means to create multisensorial depictions of ethereal spaces. Further, these depictions of technology were often akin to ones of spirituality, especially through the Italian Futurist phenomenon of aeropittura (aeropainting). The paradoxes that arise from Futurist work and ideology also manifest themselves in Benedetta’s murals, which I will show by comparing her work to that of other second– wave Futurist artists.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- A propagandistic undertaking turned poignant -- Modern technology as a means to metaphysical awareness -- Aeropittura as spiritual conduit