Les mots en liberté futuristes

Les mots en liberté futuristes

I chose Les mots en liberté futuristes as my piece. My first visual impression of Les mots en liberté futuristes is that it is very visually busy. There is no color present, except for the red on the cover page. There are many lines, shapes, and words going in all different directions and all over the page. Furthermore, on most of the pages, there are bold, black letters and shapes that catch the viewer’s eye immediately. Collectively, the book is comprised of four brochure type pages that each fold out to make a larger page. The size of the book is somewhat small, but when each of the pages fold out, it becomes larger in size. According to the MOMA, the book is actually 7 9/16 x 4 15/16 x 3/8″ closed. I believe that there are two main ways to sense this book: look and touch. As mentioned above, visually, there are letters, shapes, and lines that cover all of the spreads. They are consistent throughout  and they guide the viewer’s eye around the page. This book can also be sensed through touch because of the way one reads it. Unlike a standard book, the viewer must unfold the pages in order to see all of the content of those pages. The fact that this cannot be read like a standard book is interesting to me. I think it is interesting that the designer of these pages didn’t think a standard page size was enough to contain the content.  Also, I think it’s interesting that the book contains serif and sans serif fonts. The sizes of the fonts drastically vary. For instance, I think it is interesting that some words are very bold and apparent, while other words are very thin and not so visible. I think it is interesting that there are images present on the pages, but they are difficult to read and decipher at first. Furthermore, the layout of the page is interesting as well because there isn’t really a single focal point on each page. Rather, there are multiple points of emphasis that draw the reader’s eye in. Lastly, the cover is interesting because it is the only page with color in it.

This book is in the collection because it reflects the views of the futurists. Its unconventional layouts and chaotic designs embody the beliefs of the futurists about what art and design should be. This book is important to collect because its various styles and font sizes went against conventional standards of the time and ignited a new way of thinking in modern visual communication.

I believe that this book is valued for its style. As mentioned above, the style and typography used was very unconventional. Its chaotic style was almost like a call to revolutionize art and design. I believe that this book is also valued for its author. According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published a Futurist Manifesto prior to the Les mots en liberté futuristes. Marinetti launched the futurist movement. In his manifesto, Marinetti praised development, bloodshed, adolescence, and technology.

Going off of this, this book would mostly fit into art and design history. Marinetti called for the elimination of old rules regarding vision and communication. He also called for artists of all kinds to come together in order to make a “modern aesthetic” that could accurately portray the modern, mechanical world. Marinetti created new design techniques in this book that allowed him to accurately depict the busy chaos of modern day life.

This book is an important landmark in the futurist movement. The futurist movement was a part of the Italian avant-garde art movement. Futurists praised developing technology and urban living. They tried to accurately portray this through their art and designs. They also wanted to evoke a wide variety of emotions from their viewers. This book served as a catalyst for the movement. According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, like Marinetti, other futurists began creating energetic typography pieces that elicited a strong reaction from the viewer. These artists and designers gave words “the velocity of trains, waves, explosives, and airplanes.” Words portrayed communicated ideas but they were also integrated in the design of the page as a whole.

Not only was this book a part of the development of the futurist movement, this book was also very influential to other forms of modern art. Its influences can be seen in the ideas and composition of modernist print and the up and coming European avant-garde culture.

This book was created solely by Marinetti. According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, this book embodies the typographic experimentation that futurists often used. This book is important because Marinetti was able to communicate visually in a new way. This book was considered visual/ concrete poetry, which is when artists can manipulate typography and composition in order to communicate or express something.

Much like Les Mots en Liberté Futuristes, Depero futurista by Fortunato Depero celebrates futurism. This novel tells the tale of Fortunato Depero: an important figure in the futurist movement. Much like Les mots en liberté futuristes’s pages were unconventional because they had to be unfolded, Depero futurista does not have a conventional binding. In fact, the book is bound with two bolts and nuts that connect the pages that don’t allow the book to lay flat. Fortunato Depero took the futurist movement a step further than Marinetti because he designed print design but he also designed tangible items. According to HyperAllergic.com, he designed products such as, paintings, sculptures, textiles, furnishings, theater props and sets, children’s toys, and pillows. Because Marinetti and Fortunato Depero are figures of the same movement, they believe in similar principles. Marinetti definitely had influence on Fortunato, as Marinetti sparked the Futurist movement. Both use very bold typography and compositions to evoke powerful emotions in their viewers.

Original copy of Fortunato Depero’s ‘Depero Futurista’ (1927) (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)


“Les Mots En Liberté Futuristes (Futurist Words in Freedom).” Les Mots En Liberté Futuristes (Futurist Words in Freedom) | Cary Graphic Arts Collection, library.rit.edu/cary/les-mots-en-libert%C3%A9-futuristes-futurist-words-freedom.

Reprinting ‘Depero Futurista,’ the First Modern Artist’s Book. hyperallergic.com/326843/reprinting-depero-futurista-first-modern-artists-book/.