artist canvas

Constructivism

Constructivism was an artistic and architectural movement in Russia from 1914 onward (especially present after the October Revolution), and a term often used in modern art today, which dismissed "pure" art in favour of art used as an instrument for social purposes, namely, the construction of the socialist system. The term Construction Art was first used as a derisive term by Kazimir Malevich to describe the work of Alexander Rodchenko in 1917. Constructivism first appears as a positive term in Naum Gabo's Realistic Manifesto of 1920. The artists of the movement were influenced by, and used materials from, industrial design such as sheet metal and glass. Often these materials were used to create geometric objects. As a part of the early Soviet youth movement, the constructivists took an artistic outlook aimed to encompass cognitive, material activity, and the whole of spirtuality of mankind. The artists tried to create art that would take the viewer out of the traditional setting and make them an active viewer of the artwork. Most of the designs were a fusion of art and political commitment, and reflected the revolutionary times. The movement was formed by Vladimir Tatlin, and later prominent constructivists included Manuel Rend?n, Joaqu?n Torres Garc?a, Antoine Pevsner and Naum Gabo. The basis for the new movement was laid by People's Commissar of Education Anatoliy Vasilievich Lunacharsky with the suppression of the old Petrograd Academy of Fine Arts and the Moscow College of Painting in 1918. The focus for Constructivism in Moscow was VKhUTEMAS the school for art and design established in 1919. Gabo later stated that teaching at the school was focused more on political and ideological discussion than art making. Kazimir Malevich also worked in the constructivist style, though he is better known for his earlier suprematism and ran his own competing group in Vitebsk. The movement was an important influence on new graphic design techniques championed by El Lissitzky. The canonical work of Constructivism was Tatlin's proposal for the Monument to the Third International (1920) which combined a machine aesthetic with dynamic components celebrating technology such as searchlights and projection screens. Gabo publically criticised Tatlin's design saying Either create functional houses and bridges or create pure art, not both. This led to a major split in the Moscow group in 1920 when Gabo and Pevsner released the Realistic Manifesto that asserted a spiritual core for the movement. This was opposed to the utilitarian and adaptable version of Constructivism held by Tatlin and Rodchenko. The Constructivists main political patron was Leon Trotsky but after 1921 his support began to decline - the Communist Party could not afford to support a pure art movement, and as early as 1918 Pravda had complained that government funds were being used to buy works by untried artists. To distance themselves from Gabo, Tatlin and Rodchenko began to use the term Productivism. In 1921, a New Economic Policy was set in place in the Soviet Union, and Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, and others made advertising for commercial enterprises. The poet-artist Vladimir Mayakovsky and Rodchenko worked together and called themselves "advertising constructors". Together they designed eye-catching images featuring bright colors, geometric shapes, and bold lettering. The lettering of most contructivist designs is intended to create a reaction, and function on emotional and substantive levels.


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