Dominating Futurist art throughout the 1930s, aeropainting embodied the movement’s fascination with technology, speed and the machine, striving to capture the visual and metaphysical sensations of flight in dramatic and often intensely poetic imagery. Futurist Skies offered visitors an exhilarating birds-eye view of the world through the eyes of the Futurist artists.

Aeropainting was stylistically diverse – ranging from conventional views of the earth depicted from above, as in the work of Tato (Guglielmo Sansoni) and Alfredo Ambrosi, to the abstract, ‘biomorphic’ imagery of Enrico Prampolini and the dizzying, cinematic perspectives characteristic of Tullio Crali. Whether representational or experimental, the work of the aeropainters consistently reveals the truth of the assertion made in the Manifesto dell’aeropittura that ‘the changing perspectives of flight constitute an absolutely new reality, one that has nothing in common with the reality traditionally constituted by earthbound perspectives’.

In time, aeropainting was transformed into a propaganda machine for the Fascist regime, celebrating its military aspirations and adventures. In the process, it lost something of the spirit of enquiry and sense of wonder that pervades the work that was featured in the exhibition, which included paintings, sculptures and examples of futurist ceramics by artists such as Fillia (Luigi Colombo), Nicolay Diulgheroff, Bruno Munari and Giacomo Balla, amongst others.

The exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, London and Fondazione Foedus, Rome.

Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau on the set of La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960 © Sergio Strizzi Photography

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Pasquarosa, Vase of Flowers, c. 1916

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