Constructivism is a Russian art movement that flourished during the early part of the 20th century. This style of design had an impact on future schools of art. The constructivist style of design was founded by Vladimir Tatlin, a Russian sculptor and painter (Microsoft Encarta 2008). The name of this design style was derived from the “construction” of abstract sculptures from various industrial materials like wire, metal, and plastic pieces. The relief construction works of Tatlin from 1913 to 1917 were the first for the movement.
Other notable constructivists include Aleksandr Rodchenko, Antoine Pevsner, Naum Gabo, among others (Microsoft Encarta 2008). Constructivism is a style of art characterized by an optimistic, non-representational relief construction, painting, kinetics, and sculpture. Rather than focusing on abstract ideas, the artist connects art with concrete and tangible ideas. Characteristic of artistic movements after World War I, constructivists were idealists aiming for the establishment of a new order in the field of arts and architecture (Huntfor. om n. d).
For constructivists, they believe that the highest form of art does not focus on the “fine art” but rather on the “practical art. ” Constructivist style of design is centered on the three-dimensional and could be connected with Proletarianism. Aside from Russia, the constructivist was likewise prominent in Germany, with Walter Gropius as the main representative (Huntfor. com n. d). Despite being split into several groups during the 1920s, constructivism generally stood for the ideals of functionalism, utilitarianism, and abstraction.
Tatlin combined constructivism with utilitarianism, the dominant style of art during the emergence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) (Microsoft Encarta 2008). Prior to Constructivism, there were previous experimental artistic groups such as Cubo-Futurism, Rayonnism, and Suprematism. During this time, Russia was experiencing turbulent times as World War I and the Russian Revolution had been concluded by the 1920s. In 1921, the Constructivists turned their attention to instructional design.
Tatlin and Rodchenko veered away from sculpture and painting and switched to stove design, graphic design, and photojournalism (Anneser n. ). Most of the Constructivists like Rodchenko focused on doing posters for theatres and cinemas. Rodchencko did the design for a magazine called LEF. He made his mark in the field of photomontage and printing with overprinting and kiss registration (Anneser n. d). In architecture, constructivist style is marked by a combination of straight lines and a wide-range of forms such as squares, cylinders, cubes, rectangles, and so on.
A common example of a Constructivist building is the mausoleum of Lenin located in Red Square that was constructed by Alexei Shchusev in 1924 (Johns n. ). Constructivism is characterized by the exploitation of the difference between various forms and models and also focuses on the contrast of various surfaces like rough walls and windows, which could be strictly rectangular or square. Likewise, they can be horizontal like giant ribbons which envelope the whole building. At the top portion of the building, there are rounded windows (Johns n. d). The Constructivist movement was only short lived as it lasted only until 1933. At present, there are about 600 Constructivist-inspired buildings in Moscow.
The earliest structures emerged in 1925 when Russia was just recovering from World War I and had no funds for new construction projects (Johns n. d). Other famous Constructivist buildings are the PRAVDA editorial offices and the department store located at 1905 Goda found on the edge of Krasnaya Presnya and Presnenskaya Zastava Street where the Benetton sign is located. The building takes up a small parcel of land and is triangular in shape with an open top. A huge window extends from the first to the third floors (Johns n. d).
From 1930 to 1933, Constructivists buildings experienced a major renovation in order to cope up with the demands of the political situation pervading that time. Eventually, constructivism gave way for the Stalin Empire style. The 1940s and 1950s was a trying time for Constructivists, as they were not given the chance to work forcing some of them to quit their profession or went to teaching (Johns n. d). In 1958, however, the Constructivist style was revived as architects began to construct public buildings such as hotels like the Yunost and Orlyonok as well as the post-graduate student center located at Silvernik Street (Johns n. ).
Throughout the world, the influence of Constructivism was evident in modern architecture. In Russia, the cities of St. Petersburg, Ivanovo, and Kizhma have undergone major changes and have become industrialized because of Constructivist architects. Similar industrialized cities can be seen in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan (Johns n. d). Conclusion Constructivism is a Russian art movement that flourished during the early part of the 20th century. This style of design had an impact on future schools of art.
Vladimir Tatlin, a Russian sculptor and painter, founded the constructivist style of design. Constructivism is a style of art characterized by an optimistic, non-representational relief construction, painting, kinetics, and sculpture. Rather than focusing on abstract ideas, the artist connects art with concrete and tangible ideas. Characteristic of artistic movements after World War I, constructivists were idealists aiming for the establishment of a new order in the field of arts and architecture.
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