Russian constructivism

Constructivism – The Soviet avant-garde method (direction, style) in the visual arts, architecture, photography and applied arts, developed between the early 1920s and the early 1930s. As V.V Mayakovsky wrote in his essay on the French painting: “For the first time not from France but from Russia, a new word for art – constructivism …” appeared.

In the constant search for new forms, implying the forgetting of all the “old”, the innovators declared the rejection of “larpurlartism.” Since then, art has been required to serve production. Most of those who subsequently joined the Constructivists were ideologues of the so-called. “industrial arts”. They urged artists to “consciously create useful things” and dreamed of a new man of harmonious existence, who enjoys useful things and lives in a well-tended city.

Constructivism is a direction that, above all, connects with architecture. However, this vision is one-sided and even very wrong, because before it became an architectural method, constructivism existed in design, print, and artistic creation in general. Colors were stable: black, red, white, gray with the addition of blue and yellow. In fashion, there are also certain constructs – tendencies – in light of the global trend of drawing straight lines in clothing design, Soviet designers devised a geometricized form during those years. Among the designers stand out Varvara Stepanova, who in 1924, together with Ljubov Popov, developed a design of fabrics for the first factory of printed cotton in Moscow. Stepanova was a professor of textiles at the Faculty of Arts and designed sports and casual wardrobe models.

The names of Alexander Rodchenko, El Lisicki, Vladimir Tatlin and Varvara Stepanova are associated with the production arts. In the early years of Soviet rule, the main areas of mass adoption in emerging design were: the formulation of revolutionary festivals, poster, advertising, book production, exhibition design, theater, etc. The artists sought to create a new image of the urban environment and to separate it from the older, “bourgeois” construction of the city.

All the work of representatives of the Russian avant-garde, both artists and architects, are of great value to Russian cultural heritage. Each representative of that style of art developed his unique approach, created a novelty in the cultural world and introduced a series of works that fit his own artistic world, and are now considered masterpieces not only of Russian but of world art and architecture.

The specifics of the Russian avant-garde are both its development and decline, which are closely related to the historical events in the country, as well as its rebellious character and (self) proclamation of representatives of the avant-garde as activists in the fight against cultural heritage. In addition, the phenomenon of the Russian avant-garde lies in the fact that the concept of the “Russian avant-garde” is typical not only of painting, but of the art of almost the entire culture of that time: literature, music, theater, photography, film, design, architecture.

Lyubov Popova

Vladimir Tatlin

Эль Лисицкий. Без названия. 1924-25