Modern Art: Constructivism

Introduction to Modern Art 1/3/04 – Constructivism

‘Constructivism’ Introduction to Modern Art, 1 March 2004 Birkbeck College, University of London Gavin Parkinson Slide List

Slide 1: Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Kahnweiler (1910).
Picasso_Portrait_of_Daniel-Henry_Kahnweiler_1910

Slide 2: Umberto Boccioni, The City Rises (1910-1 1).
Boccioni_The_City_Rises_1910

Slide 3: Natalia Goncharova, Haycutting (1910).
Goncharova_Haycutting_1910

Slide 4: Mikhail Larionov, The Baker (1909).
Larionov_Soldier_at_Rest_1911

Slide 5: Natalia Goncharova, Picking Apples (1909).
Goncharova_The_Fruit_Harvest_1909

Slide 6: Pablo Picasso, Guitar (construction, 1912).
Picasso_Construction_Guitar_1912

Slide 7: Mikhail Larionov, Rayonnist Composition (1913).
Larionov_Rayonist_Composition_1913

Mikhail Larionov (French, born Russia, 1881-1964), Rayonist Composition, c. 1912-13, oil on cardboard, 20 x 17 1/8 inches (50.2 x 43.5 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Slide 8: Mikhail Larionov, Portrait of Tatlin (1913-14).
Larionov_Portrait_of_Tatlin_1913-14

Slide 9: Georges Braque, Homage to J.S. Bach (1912).
Braque_Hommage_to_JS_Bach_1912

Slide 10: Kasiniir Malevich, Bringing in the Harvest (1911).
Malevich_To_Harvest_Martha_and_Vanka_1911

Slide 11: Kasimir Malevich, The Knife-Grinder (1912).
Malevich_The_Knife_Grinder_1912

Slide 12: Kasimir Malevich, Black Square (1913).
Malevich_Black_Square_1913

Slide 13: Pablo Picasso, Glass and Bottle of Suze (1912).
Picasso_Glass_and_a_Bottle_of_Suze_1912

Slide 14: Pablo Picasso, Guitar (wire and metal construction, 1912).
Picasso_Guitar_wire_and_metal_construction_1912

Slide 15: Pablo Picasso, Still-Life (painted wood and cloth relief, 1914).
Picasso_Still_Life_painted_wood_and_cloth_1914

Slide 16: Vladimir Tatlin, Relief (1913, remade 1980).
Tatlin_Relief_1914

Slide 17: Vladimir Tatlin, Relief (1914, remade 1979-81).
Tatlin_Relief_2_1914

Slide 18: Vladimir Tatlin, Relief (1914, remade 1979-80).
Tatlin_Relief_3_1914

Slide 19: Vladimir Tatlin, Corner Relief (1915, remade 1980).
Tatlin_Corner_Counter_Relief_1914

Slide 20: Vladimir Tatlin, Corner Relief (1915).
Tatlin_Corner_Relief_1915

Slide 21: Lyubov Popova, Abstract Composition (c. 1916).(image not found)

Slide 22: Lyubov Popova, Painterly Architectonics (1917).
Popova_Painterly_Architectonics_1917

Slide 23: Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Painting (1917).
Malevich_Suprematist_Painting_1917

Slide 24: Alexander Rodchenko, Compass and Ruler Drawing (1914-15).
Rodchenko_Compass_and_Ruler_Drawing_1914-15

Slide 25: Alexander Rodchenko, Compass and Ruler Drawing 2 (1914-15).
Rodchenko_Compass_and_Ruler_Drawing_2_1914-15

Slide 26: Photograph of Rodchenko.
Rodchenko_photograph

Slide 27: Alexander Rodchenko, Construction (1921).
Rodchenko_Contruction_1921

Slide 28: Konstantin Medunetsky, Spatial Construction (1920).
Medunetsky_Colour_Construction_1920

Slide 29: Photograph of view of third OBMOKhU exhibition, Moscow, May 1921.
OBMOKhU_third_exhibition_photograph_1921

Slide 30: Another Photograph of view of third OBMOKhU exhibition, Moscow, May 1921.
OBMOKhU_third_exhibition_photograph_2_1921

Slide 31: Lyubov Popova, Spatial Force Construction (1920-21).
Popova_Spacial_Force_Construction_1920-21

Slide 32: Lyubov Popova, Constructivist Composition (1921).
Popova_Constructivist_Composition_1921

Slide 33: Alexander Rodchenko, Non-Objective Composition (1918).
Rodchenko_Non-Objective_Composition_1917

Slide 34: Alexander Rodchenko, A Study of a Circle (1919).(image not found)

Slide 35: Alexander Rodchenko, Oval Hanging Construction no. 12 (c. 1920).(image not found)

Slide 36: Alexander Rodchenko, Oval Hanging Construction no. 12 (c. 1920).(image not found)

Slide 37: L�szl� Moholy-Nagy, Large Railway Painting (1920).
Moholy-Nagy_Large_Railway_Painting_1920

Slide 38: L�szl� Moholy-Nagy, Composition with Yellow Cross (1922).
Moholy-Nagy_Composition_A_II_1924

Slide 39: Vladimir Tatlin, Monument to the Third International (1920).
Tatlin_Monument_to_the_Third_International_1920

Slide 40: Naum Gabo, Column (conc. 1921, cx. 1929, rebuilt, 1937).
Gabo_Column_1921

Slide 41: Naum Gabo, Construction in Space (c. 1925, rebuilt, 1985-6).
Gabo_Construction_in_Space_1925

Slide 42: Antoine Pevsner, Fountain (1925).
Pevsner_Anchored_Cross_1933

Slide 43: Alexander Rodchenko, Light Bulb Advertisement 1923, remade 1930.
Rodchenko_Advertisement_for_a_Lightbulb_1923

Constructivism. Art was ready for the revolution. The move was from the individual art hero to the artist as artisan. By the end of the first decade both Cubism and Futurism had been taken up by Russian artists. See S3 and S4. Primitivist folk art particularly Goncharova. Neither were involved in Constructivism but they were the best known and set the scene for Malevich (“Mal-e-a-vich”) and Tatlin. Constructivism was created by Malevich and Tatlin four years before the Russian revolution. Picasso had a great influence on Tatlin. Tatlin had a fundamental change after the resolution. Two further figures are Rodchenko and Popova. Also Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (he constructed 3D objects). They all believed in a revolution in art but their hopes were dashed in 1921. S7 Rayonist Manifesto launched. Showed the complex play of light across an object, but the object itself disappeared. Think of a micro view at the photon and wave level. Paintings are about light. S8 shows Constructvism’s relationship with Cubism. Is S9 realistic? “We declare the genius of our day to be trousers, jackets, planes, �” This is a manifesto that sounds like the manifests of the Marinetti Futurist’s manifesto four years before. “The heroism of everyday life” — Baudelaire. The great subjects are the everyday. Dada was also interested in the machine S10 is a painting in a Legeresce mode. Realistic but not naturalistic. S11 derived from Futurism and Leger. “Larry-ay-nov” Malevich’s Black Square, under the Suprematism banner, was the first school of abstract painting. 1910 the beginning of abstraction by Kandinsky with no reference to the real world. 1913 was a key year in Russia. Tatlin visited Picasso’s studio in Paris. See S13 and S14. S15 and S16 show relationship between Picasso and Tatlin. Picasso is never interested in abstraction. There are bits of S15 that give access to the real world. S12 has no such reference. S15 is made up of the things it represents. Mondrian, Kandinsky and Tatlin did take the step Picasso never took into complete abstraction. Transience, ephemerality. Cubist collage is ephemeral. Tatlin was deliberately creating works that would not last. Modern artists do the same, such as Joseph Hurst – lard and fat and (?) with works made out of rubber. Tatlin’s work has been recreated recently – is this valid? Constructivists thought any reference to the real world was a distraction. Tatlin was sculpting space not objects. He had purely formal concerns. Most works of art create an art space by using a pillar or a frame. Tatlin is a pioneer in creating an object in the real world of the museum, S19, they are objects not works of art. In a 1915 exhibition Malevich put his work in a corner, displacement out of the traditional spaces of art. The works are revolutionary with respect to traditional Russian art. But were they acceptable? Popova was determinately abstract. Dominance of a single colour, lack of modelling, link to collage. Popova and Rodchenko produced works based on engineering – pencil, ruler and compass. They wanted to remove the hand of the artist and its subjectivity, so their work is objective and “cool”. The events of 1917 in the social field were forecast by the revolution in art in 1313 – Tatlin. After the revolution Rodchenko took on a Government role. Art would move out of the museum to the people and into industry. They would create prototypes for industrial design and thus take on a utilitarian role. In 1918 some artists started to call themselves constructors rather than artist. Their interest in the industrial reminds us of Donald Judd and his use of industrial materials. Society of Young Artists exhibition S29 and S30 – they wanted to dissociate themselves from art. “Achieving the materialist construction of communist objects”. They thought they would help produce useful goods. First working group of Constructivists of 1921. His classic work is Oval Hanging Construction. Moholy “Narj”. Thought he was producing art (others were ambivalent — they called themselves artisans, engineers, and felt they were doing useful design and research work). He went to Moscow not Paris. Lenin set by NARCOMPROS, the Peoples Commissariate for Education. Led to Tatlin’s monument to the Third International. Architecture. Glass and steel. Inner part revolve once a year, month, day. Twice the height of the Empire State building. S35, S36 were produced the same year. Also Gabo and his brother Pevsner made mobiles. They wrote the Realistic Manifesto. “War as a cleansing event”. New clampdown on the avant guard started in 1921, Gabo and Pevsner left in 1923. Artists had to find a new living with the loss of the middle class. Their work was put to new uses, advertising and propaganda. Lenin died in 1924 Stalin took over and only wanted propaganda.

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