Thayaht (Ernesto Michahelles)

Biography

Thayaht was the pseudonym of artist and designer Ernesto Michahelles. He is best known for his revolutionary design of the TuTa and his involvement with the Italian Futurist movement. While having an Anglo-Swiss origin, he lived in Florence since childhood. In 1915, after a brief stay in Paris, he exhibited a series of abstract drawings in Florence. These works would enable him to come into contact with Florentine futurists. Thayaht's creativity (pseudonym perfectly describing "two-faced") is emblematic of the eclectic spirit of the Second Futurism. This movement focused on the diversity from painting to sculpture, from fashion to theater, from decorative arts to advertising graphics, and from photography to interior design. In 1918 he returned to Paris and enrolled at the Académie Ranson. He attended the avant-garde circles and started the activity of stylist in collaboration with Madaleine Vionnet, creating original models inspired by the "deco" style. He would then invent the “work suit” shaped like a “t,” with a single piece of cloth and created for the masses in 1919. These were initially adopted by the Florentine snobbish environments. After having a personal exhibition in Florence in 1920, he arrives in the United States where he would attend classes at Harvard. These classes included scientific coloring and dynamic geometry. When Thayaht returned to Italy during the 1920s, he continued his activity in the field of applied arts. He had exhibitions at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Monza in 1923 and 1927, where he held sketches of fabrics and clothes, as well as furniture and high-quality furnishings for widespread use. He would also invent the “taiattite,” a silver and aluminum alloy with which he made jewelry of primitive style and of a contemporary taste. During a meeting with Marinetti in 1929, Thayaht showcased distinctly synthetic and geometric solutions in his painting and a dynamic imprint of sculpture. He participated in the exhibition “Trentatre futuristi” at the Galleria Pesaro in Milan. He would also cultivate interest in photography and collaborates with the Teatro dei Fidenti in Florence where he designed scenographies. During the 1930s he participated in the First Quadrennial in Rome (1931), organized the Futurist Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture, Airplane, Decorative Arts at the Florence Art Gallery, participates in the Venice Biennials from 1932 to 1936, and at the Milan Triennale in 1933 and 1936. From the mid-thirties he retired to Marina di Pietrasanta, where he deepened his scientific and astronomical studies. After World War II he founded CIRNOS (Independent Center for the collection of spatial observations), with the aim of reporting and demonstrating the appearance of the UFOs.