Constructivism
(1914 - 1930)
 

Constructivism was first created in Russia in 1913 when the Russian sculptor Vladimir Tatlin, during his journey to Paris, discovered the works of Braque and Picasso. When Tatlin was back in Russia, he began producing sculptured out of assemblages, but he abandoned any reference to precise subjects or themes. Those works marked the appearance of Constructivism. Constructivist art, theatre and exhibitions were produced by a group of avant-garde artists in Moscow, Odessa and St. Petersburg. Constructivist art began with works of primarily abstract constructions. After 1916 the brothers Naum (Pevsner) Gabo and Antoine Pevsner sculptural added an emphasis related to the technology of the society in which they were created. Constructivism was closely related to another modern art movement named suprematism, which sought "to liberate art from the ballast of the representational world." It consisted of geometrical shapes flatly painted on the pure canvas surface.  The name Constructivism did not describe a specific movement but rather a trend within the fields of painting, sculpture and especially closely conjoined artists and their art with machine production, architecture and the applied arts. An underlying feature of Constructivism is that it was promoted by the new Soviet Education Commissariate which used artists and art to educate the public. Later, as an educator, Tatlin emphasized design principles based on the inner behavior and loading capacities of material. It was this work with materials that inspired the Constructivist movement in architecture and design.

Constructivism art refers to the optimistic, non-representational relief construction, sculpture, kinetics and painting. The artists did not believe in abstract ideas, rather they tried to link art with concrete and tangible ideas. Early modern movements around WWI were idealistic, seeking a new order in art and architecture that dealt with social and economic problems. They wanted to renew the idea that the apex of artwork does not revolve around "fine art", but rather emphasized that the most priceless artwork can often be discovered in the nuances of "practical art" and through portraying man and mechanization into one aesthetic program. Constructivist art is characterized by a total abstraction and an acceptance of everything modern. It is often very geometric, it is usually experimental, and is rarely emotional. Objective forms and icons were used over the subjective or the individual. The art is often very simple and reduced, paring the artwork down to its basic elements. Constructivist artisits often used new media to create their work. The context of Russian Constructivist art is important, "the Constructivists sought an art of order, which would reject the past (the old order which had culminated in World War I) and lead to a world of more understanding, unity, and peace."

Constructivism was an invention of the Russian avant-garde that found adherents across the continent. The artists mainly consisted of young Russians trying to engage the full ideas of modern art on their own terms. They depicted art that was mostly three dimensional, and they also often portrayed art that could be connected to their Proletarian beliefs. Theory of constructivism is derived from Russian Suprematism, Dutch Neo Plasticism (De Stijl) and the German Bauhaus. Germany was the site of the most Constructivist activity outside of the Soviet Union to Walter Gropius's Bauhaus, a progressive art and design school sympathetic to the movement, same as other art centers, like Paris, London, and eventually the United States.

Model for the 3rd International Tower, (1919-1920)
Vladimir Tatlin initiated Russian Constructivism. As a new interdisciplinary movement, Russian Constructivism derived its name from Tatlin's construction of abstract sculptures. The above model displays the ideals of abstraction, functionalism and utilitarianism. It is characteristic of most Constructivist sculptures to be created from diverse materials of the industrial age: metal, wire and plastics, which signified the strong influence of technology on the movement.
The Man with the Movie Camera, '29 (Chelovek s Kinoapparatom) USSR, '29. Museum of Modern Art, New York, Arthur Drexler Fund
This poster was created by Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, who were members of a group of artist engineers in the early Soviet Union. The brothers created posters to promote films that embody the constructivist style. This poster uses a montage of several drawings and designs from the film. It uses contrasting colours and simple designs and geometric shape. There is also a very strong emphasis on technology (the camera), which persists in constructivist art.

Main Representatives

Alexander Rodchenko
Liubov Popova
Vladimir Tatlin
Olga Rozanova
Alexandra Exter
Naum Gabo

El Lissitzky:  http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/el/pro.html (en esta dirección se encuentra su obra más significativa: "Sobre 2 cuadrados")

Antoine Pevsner

Kasimir Malevich

Alexander Vesnin