An Iron Spear in The Face of Hypocrisy
An Iron Spear in The Face of Hypocrisy
רְשִׁימ֥וֹת־תֹּ֖הוּ | An Interview with Antonio Corso
By: Noa Kushnir Artzi
Following my quest for Futurism in Milan, which I have described in a previous item, I was blessed to have the opportunity to talk to the artist responsible for the album cover that prompted this whole journey. Here's my conversation with Mr. Antonio Corso, a Futurist artist and Metal musician who also runs a small label.
From my brief visit to Milan, I understand that Futurist art isn’t very widely displayed in local museums and probably gets the same, poor amount of exposure in academia. How did you get exposed to this style of art? Why Futurism, of all styles?
First of all, Hails and thank for your commitment. I think it went this way because when I was younger, I tried to rectify some family diaries and because geometry belonged to the places where I stayed many times and where my mind stayed very often. If we want to be honest Futurism is the ultimate apex among the great artistic movements of the Twentieth Century, it is the Iron Spear in the face of hypocrisy and densely represents a certain way of thinking. I choose what I justify and what I like. Futurism because it is the proper design-line with which I would furnish my own home. It has something to do with order and enthusiasm. Specific studies started to increase my curiosity when I perceived their hard imagination, and it progressively became a cult for my background.
Futurism doesn’t seem to get the deserved attention, especially in Italy where it originated. Why?
Futurism is a very complex movement together with other currents of the Nineteenth and the Twentieth century. It relates to the life and society of those times but can't be studied just on the internet with Wikipedia or through the usual limited books of history. It is a mood and an interpretation of life or to better say, a conception, a vast field as other European movements of those years and it is subject to simple reductions and readings. Probably there's even a generation or a slice of audience that encodes it with wrong combinations.
What are your opinions on other Futurist artforms and Futurist music in particular? Do you see any common conceptual and aesthetical characteristics between Extreme Metal and Futurist music? If so what are they? What’s your take on Futurist dinners? Do they allude to a more humorous side in Futurism? If so, what role does humor play in Futurism?
Yes, I think especially first and second futurism suits very well to my tastes. There's a relation between extreme metal and futurist music, same aesthetical characteristics as speed, velocity and bravery. Futurist music was born before, so it can be seen as an avant-garde pioneer. Father of many avantgardes? I must admit I am more classical and traditional on food. Yes, maybe humor is an important part of life, even for Black Metallers…Ahahg, but there was not only humor in those creations. They just anticipated the novel-cuisine. It goes step by step toward the conception of a tonic physicality/life and a Vitalist philosophy. An exaltation of upsurge and rush in efficiency.
Back to the music…Would you say there’s a specific kind of music that goes with your Futurist style? Or could you make a futurist album cover for any kind of music? If it’s exclusive to a specific kind of music, what would the characteristics of that kind of music be and why would this art go so well with the above-mentioned kind of music?
As for those who studied Futurism only by the books it can go together with industrial music, ambient music and may be sometimes with blues/jazz and probably even with fusion. But I have my own combination and reading. For me the closest plausible approach going with this style is a warlike thrash metal. Surely, on the other hand I could compose a futurist album cover for any kind of music, a reversed process of creation. It is because music is melody of notes and painting is a melody (of colors) as well. Nothing more mathematical than this, if you notice.
I personally think that a dystopian geometrical painting, a-la depressive Mario Sironi could beautifully complement an Industrial Black Metal album, but the perception of art as a melody of colors is truly refreshing. I should certainly keep that in mind.
I saw you’ve done some Black Metal/Metal album covers. I must say that this type of aesthetics goes surprisingly well with the music. I cannot imagine “Bulloni Granate Bastoni” or “Trincerocrazia” with a different cover. What are the common features between these 2 art forms that make them complement each other so well?
Thanks, but make attention please, the 'Bulloni Granate Bastoni' album cover is an image by Giuseppe Cominetti, a painter who was active during the late '800 and early '900. Check his works based on first-pointillism and in my opinion even draws a certain inspiration from particle acceleration. Prodigious. The art which I provided for this album recalls a typical Futur-Dadaistic practice, the 'Paroliberismo Futurista', also known as 'words in freedom'. The images on the paper and the images suggested by the sounds (in the album) complement each other because I had the opportunity to listen to the songs many times before I painted.
Speaking of which, Trincerocrazia’s cover is pretty obvious, but what’s the concept behind BGB’s cover? A certain historical event? An embodiment of an ideal?
As said, this magnificent re-visitation was originally painted by Giuseppe Cominetti and it is his depiction of agricultural life in '900. The name of this mythical painting is 'I Conquistatori Del Sole', from 1907. 291 x 290 centimeters of canvas. 'Conquerors of The Sun' is an apotheosis of work. The theme is work, as central guideline. It is a theme which I painted even as a mural/wall decoration near Novara.
How did your collaboration with Frangar happen?
It is old, old history. Let's say that this collaboration with the guys is a metaphor of friendship between me and the singer, Il Colonnello.
Given your experience playing Black Metal and collaborating with Frangar/Desaster, do you see any relation between Futurism and Black Metal? If so, what is it? Do you see Futurism as something that will become a prominent theme in the Genre? If so, how?
I collaborated with Frangar since they are friends and we have themes in common. I know Desaster personally but I've just drawn one engravement once, as a tribute to their albums. As for relation, certainly. Nothing could be more attached, and linked in chains. It is the way in which you imagine reality. For me Futurism and even other art-forms were prominent themes in the genre and still they are. The point is velocity in life, I feed this fire.
Collectives were a very common thing back in the day. I know it’s somewhat still common in Black Metal, but how’s the situation in visual art/poetry/multimedia and in artistic movements such as Futurism? Is there a decline? If so, why?
Yes, it goes down as an outbreak of industriousness in history. I tried to think of it this way. Maybe now there’s a decline and it’s not so usual if we refer to the common habits and the commercial initiatives. Visual collecting of consecutive images is very frequent in our lives. I am referring there to the 'Collezionismo Visivo' of modern futurism. You taste your own self even in your life. Life as quick strip of film. In Italian you find a term called 'Filmico'. Sequences and cuts of the filmmakers/playwrights. A painter is the 'cineasta' of these images.
I think these old school collectives, where artists meet up in person and create together have more potential for action and more lasting power than the loose commitment of whatever happens in social media “groups”. As a collaborating artist, do you have any idea how we can restore these? How can we get people out from behind the screens and into the cafes and art/music studios?
In my way, I always tried to be present and active in the approach or in the occasions. As for now, I continue to go to the maximum examples in those aesthetics: live events and gigs. Also, keeping up with these collaborations is a way to keep the flame burning.
--The ultimate radicalism
Futurism is a rather “outdated” form of contemporary art. Why be a reactionary? What does being an artistic reactionary mean to you? What are you paying homage to? Are you bringing in anything new?
It’s not necessarily reactionary but it can be when the situation asks for it. The great energy, I think this is reactionary if you/we want to compare with some forms of nowadays 'arts' which are not properly into my tastes. Even being reactionary or 'against the current' could be or could mean staying steadfast in a precise point, without moving. If we want to remark this important side of my cult for futurism, you can see that I don't want only to copy things from this movement. To proceed with my own personality and maybe to have my own contradictions, without seeking features from others. To decide by your own self, is the homage to you. To know what you like the most as your own self. Yes, this introspective activity put in act could be effectively the new thing. New life. In Electricity.
This brings to mind Yehuda Vizan’s words “conservativism is the ultimate radicalism” - great minds truly think alike. Timeless aesthetics are the ultimate, most elegant revolt in the face of “modern art” which has long lost its edge and power, and it seems like his employment of reactionary styles comes from a place of defiance rather than nostalgia.
But still, how do ancient timey elements, like that warrior’s helmet you took from Desaster’s “Tyrants of the Netherworld” artwork, blend into an artform that supposedly worships modernity and in its origins and was rather hostile towards the romanization of the past or any sensation of nostalgia. What is the meaning behind this unusual combination, if there is?
That image was originally created using chalcography, or 'calcografia' in Italian, as an artistic technique and intent. For me it was the right way to pay homage to a band which I followed for many years and I’m still following. Later on, I wanted to produce different versions and post-productions of that same piece with colors. The blending is done because if you have nostalgic thoughts you can't go forward, and especially onward! As teachers said, we don't want to copy properly and regarding this, I please call you once more to order: be more Futurist than Futurism itself! Yes, it is a combination of an ancient idea/image and an ancient technique, re-visited and re-executed.
How did the thematic shift in geometric/Futurist art happen from ultra-modern airplanes/bikes/trains to horses and armor? How was the concept of blending the two ever conceived? Is it through Novecento/Monumental art which gained equal popularity during the same years in which Futurism gained popularity in Italy? Somewhat of a blurring of boundaries between styles?
Don't understand your question properly. Take in consideration that a link exists, a long, long fil rouge which unites the artistic path travelled by painters. If you take for example, Paolo Uccello and others from the '400 and '500 you will find a breakthrough. It was called perspective. Until the early '900s you don't find a similar example of modernism or of a breaking of rules. I can even challenge you to find something like that. So there isn't a specific theme for which a movement could become popular. Even more so, because Futurism was unpopular and it’s probably still so and so it will remain, for a large part. Futurism is underground, even today. It is 'how' a thing is done that brings a real news. To my ears it sounds similar to a question that someone once asked me: 'What is the theme of your paintings?'. I used to answer this way: 'Painting, is the theme'. Maybe from here you have an explanation on what you asked.
--Thrashing war-noises and phantasms
Tell us a bit about Unità Sangiovanni. What is it?
Unità Sanguovanni is a forge. Not only a physical place where people unite, paint and compare between each other. It is a metaphysical place for reason. Every person with which I travelled or worked with, entered this space. I mean on purpose, it is not only an imaginary place because all of my activities refer to this foundation on which I grew up. It is not limited to a single purpose. It could be even a research of pure design and even a didactic scheme or base.
The 'Andamio Di Corsa' series of paintings brings to mind Boccioni’s famous States of Mind, albeit with a reactionary theme – a horse instead of a train. Is Boccioni a source of influence here? The original Futurists focused on the opacity of seemingly solid materials, attempting to depict things unseen by the naked eye or capture noise/motion. If I understood correctly, you seem to capture some kind of metaphysical concept in 'ANDIAMO DI CORSA II'. Some kind of state between life and the afterlife. Is that true? If not, what’s exactly going on there? What other Futurist artists/writers/musicians inspired your art?
Thanks very much for this comparison and as Boccioni is probably my favorite painter and artist I'm honored. Yes, you centered the target and what you said is surely correct. In this series I wanted to survey the theme of movement and the dynamics of little particles. Lucrezio spoke about this, centuries ago. Discovered Futurism hundreds and hundreds of years ago. The image that can be perceived as simulacrum (detachment from matter - the idea is similar to a phantasm, isn't it?). From this you can get that painting is chemical.
I like many painters and artists from the Italian Division. On a rigorous and more metallic version I can mention Fortunato Depero or Sironi on the dark side of industrial geometry but there are many minor unknown and unusual names in the old Italian underground scene. I'm aiming to study more and keep up with this.
What is your typical process of creation?
In the last projects I simply tried to satisfy the customer’s request. When I have the idea in mind which is suggested by the customer, I try to approach nearer and nearer to the result he is looking for. At the end of the day, he is the one who finances the work and above all, he is the originator of the concept, so I must respect his will and assure maximum professionality until the end.
I understand you’ve done a collaboration with 'A thousand aspects of the night' by Silvia Palmeroni from Rome. It’s not Futurist/geometrical but it’s still very interesting art featuring, among other things, portraits of underground musicians depicted as historical figures. Please tell us about the project and the concept behind it. What was your part in the collaboration? What did you create together?
The deal was very important to me because it had to do with a very nice artist and person. The agreement was based on a deal, a trade. She was moving to live in a house where she wanted to collect stuff from contemporary artists and friends, so I thought I should ship her some documentations. In particular my part of deal was composed of some post-productions. The main work/present I depicted properly on purpose was a scene of marble design, an assemblage of geometries. I like to re-edit stuff that could see new life. This time the exercise was to refresh a surface of an engravement in white (through oil painting) and to proceed differently. Adhering to the traditional scheme of oil painting (a practice where you must proceed veery prudently) just with straight lines of electric blue. The package also included a compendium of drafts, projects and little works.
You told me you’re about to work with 'Ad Unguem' from Sassari. I’ve scoured the internet but couldn’t find anything about this project. Please tell us about this project. I’ve seen you’ve done some geometric portraits. Can you please tell us about these?
Yes, you didn't as probably the shop doesn't have a site. The project for now is only a plan which is yet to become reality. 'Ad Unguem' is an activity in Sassari where exhibitions are being organized. The owner of the place/shop is Francesco Zolo with which I collaborated more times. The project will bring some works of mine and some samples from Unità Sangiovanni. At the same time, I scheduled a full week of activities to create movement inside there. Even in form of workshops. Everything will converge in the new exhibitions and publications.
If I may ask, what’s the story behind the 'SIMULTANEISMI DI SICULIANA' family portrait in Unita Sangiovanni’s FB page?
'Simultaneismi Di Siculiana' is a vision from another part of Italy, it is hot Sicily. My friend asked me to paint a family portrait from a photo, so I did. The theme is the full energy of colors and the permeation between them. At this stage you can see how the futuristic influences are more far and for this work they remain just influences. It is because I wanted to render the image more personal and the attention to the minute parts is more specific and detailed here. Sometimes I even painted with a single hair, a bristle.
I understand you’ve done artwork for the band Thrashicidio, in which you’re also a vocalist and a guitarist. I notice you have a Bullet belt on your artwork, and I also know about the original Futurists’s perspective on war. Is there any relation between Thrashicidio to Futurism that goes beyond the style of the artwork?
Thrashicidio is a combat line formed in 2007, after several years of assault. Yes, that is a formation built up for speed and to reproduce the altisonant reverbs of war and everything about the so called 'thrashing war-noises'. The front-cover is an oil painted heavy foil painting, titled the same as the album itself - 'Dawn of Nuclear Deathrash'. We gave various efforts for this project but energy is a long path which needs to be traveled. Yes, some or if you want many relations are there. Surely that pugnacious spirit and combative deportment/behavior of those illustrious/brilliant minds always alimented the brigade of 'Thrash Futurista'. I am referring to the minds and thoughts of the best Italian painters, poets, playwrights and so on. Even some foreign literature. We do not turn to an ethical or political thought but to a personal one. Some sort of freedom is sought, researched and found with music. Not without the martial touch of bravery. A militant battery of notes and iron-scale patterns.
Any other modern Futurist artists to check out in assorted artforms? (music/visual/other)
I would suggest yes, two magnificent and brilliant examples which I have now. Antonio Milleddu from whom you find a specific site titled 'Fra Cubismo E Futurismo', and another real Master for me is Baldo Savonari. I think their personalities are as good as the best that Italy has now to offer.
Well, looks like I found what I was looking for…
That’s all. As a fan of Futurist art and your works in general, I’ve been very excited to have this chance to talk to you. Thanks for your time and effort.
Thanks to you and All Hails the futurist Iron Heads. If you need any other info, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senza Mai Fermarsi.
Noa Kushnir Artzi
Antonio Corso aka CPT. IMPALER- modern Futurist painter and musician
PAROLIBERISMO FUTURISTA BY ANTONIO CORSO
(BULLONI GRANATE BASTONI BOOKLET)
I Conquistatori Del Sole
Original version by Giuseppe Cominetti
Frangar Cover Art
The same image revisited by Antonio Corso on a Frangar album cover
The battle and its aftermath
On The Warrior's Table by Antonio Corso and the Desaster album cover
Andamio Di Corsa I-IV
By Antonio Corso
Simultaneismi Di Siculiana
Geometrical portrait by Antonio Corso
Album cover By Antonio Corso