100 Artists’ Manifestos From the Futurists to the Stuckists

Covers feminism, surrealism, Dadaism, destructivism, communism and of course most importantly, cannibalism – and takes in every possible aspect of ‘how to live’ including architecture, cookery and fashion along the way. Features the writings / ramblings of Kandinsky, Picabia, Dali, Oldenburg, Vertov, Baselitz, Breton, Apollinaire, and many more – though it’s worth noting that perhaps unsurprisingly (forgive me, because it’s true); the majority of manifestos seem to have been written by men.

Unlike many other emergent genres, it is relatively easy to trace the birth of the manifesto. In February 1909 ‘The Foundation and Future of Futurism’ was splashed across the first page of Le Figaro, and manifesto writing subsequently began in earnest – largely from political and/or artistic groups and alliances, and spurning the beginning of a new genre in artist expression and writing. Contained within this overview are many vital early performances and texts, all of which began as hopeful projections (or demands) for alternative futures; and many of which have inevitably been appropriated as slogans for posters and t-shirts – ambitious and visionary rhetoric condensed into fatuous marketing captions.

To make a manifesto is to imagine a promised land made ‘manifest’ somehow – to assume that in some way it is possible. It’s a practice often gently lampooned at LP: however flawed, the manifesto demonstrates and calls for ways in which we can begin to move forward together – though are now increasingly (remarkably) publicized with twinkly sincerity as the hallmark of major museums and galleries aiming to operate as sites of social transformation. It is a worrying enterprise when conducted without humour. Of the 100 manifestos included here some are poetic, some sincere, many impossibly instructive or otherwise – and almost all are endearingly strong not only on remonstration (long live, down with), but also, ironically, on harrying cries to refuse imitative practices and repetitions of the past. Less real time guides or instruction manuals, and more like prompts to thinking in new avenues or approaching work in new ways, the collection also provides a way of reading collaborative histories and their failures. In just the same way as the metronome ethics outline in the manifesto on the wall of LP library itself do, if nothing else, they provide us with something to react against.

Collection / Anthology
activism, literature, politics, Social
Penguin modern classics

Lawson Park Electronic Library is a Guestroom project for Grizedale Arts, designed and built by Dorian Moore