Constructivism

During the decade 1920-1930, constructivism emerged in the Soviet Union. The great age of delusion, according to which together with the proletariat innovation will win in all spheres of human activity, gives birth to geniuses who subsequently have a great influence on Western modernism. Kazimir Malevich, El Lisitsky (who together with Kandinsky created the school “Suprematism”, a kind of abstractionism), Petrov-Vodkin, Rodchenko, Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky are just some of the names of the artistic elite of Russia, which creates schools of modernism or avant-garde even before the revolution in painting, graphics, decorative arts and posters (poster artists of this era call themselves “advertising designers” – see two posters by El Lisicki on the right – use photomontages). And Kandinsky himself (on the right is his painting The Red Square, 1915) is one of the theorists of one of the most revolutionary architectural schools in Europe – the Bauhaus. There are similar modern schools in poetry, literature, and drama, and in Russia before and after the revolution in general, a global modernist wave encompassed the entire Russian spiritual life. Names like Mayerhold, Vakhtangov, Eisenstein change create a new vision for the theatrical and cinematic space. Constructivism is a universal style of the era and applies not only to architecture. Rodchenko, for example, is considered an artist-constructivist.

Kandinsky, El Lisicki
El Lisicki

As one of the constructivists says: “Tectonics, construction and texture – the mobilizing material elements of industrial culture.” Constructivism as a style is characterized by strict forms, conciseness of forms, expression of constructions and monolithic image. In 1924 an official organization of the constructivists (OSA – Union of Modern Architects) was created, which developed the functional method of design based on a scientific analysis of the functions of buildings, facilities and urban complexes. This lays the foundations of modern design theory.
Famous names in constructivism are the brothers Vesnini, Moses Ginzburg, Ivan Leonidov, Konstantin Melnikov. Many utopian projects were developed, but the realizations of the constructivists were relatively few (see the following illustrations).

Project by Ivan Leonidov, 1927
Residential building in Moscow, 1920
El Lisicki, Lenin’s Tribune
Ivan Melnikov, Factory Cultural Club, 1927

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