Monday, 4 October 2010

Russian Constructivism

Constructivism was an artistic and architectural movement that originated in Russia from 1919 onward which rejected the idea of "art for art's sake" in favour of art as a practice directed towards social purposes. Constructivism as an active force lasted until around 1934, having a great deal of effect on developments in the art of the Weimar Republic and elsewhere, before being replaced by Socialist Realism. Its motifs have sporadically recurred in other art movements since.

The book designs of Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and others such as Solomon Telingater and Anton LavinskyJan Tschichold. Many Constructivists worked on the design of posters for everything from film to political propaganda: the former best represented by the brightly coloured, geometric jazz-age posters of the Stenberg brothers, and the latter by the agitational photomontage work of Gustav Klutsis and Valentina Kulagina. were a major inspiration for the work of radical designers in the west, particularly
The Constructivists' main political patron early on was Leon Trotsky, and it began to be regarded with suspicion after the expulsion of Trotsky and the Left Opposition in 1927-8. The Communist Party would gradually come to favour realist art over the course of the 1920s (as early as 1918 Pravda had complained that government funds were being used to buy works by untried artists). However it wasn't until around 1934 that the counter-doctrine of Socialist Realism was instituted in Constructivism's place. Many Constructivists continued to produce avantgarde work in the service of the state, such as in Lissitzky, Rodchenko and Stepanova's designs for the magazine USSR In Construction.

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