Constructivism – The Concept
Constructivism is an art style, reflecting optimism. It is focused on art as a medium of social purpose. Artists working on this style were not impressed by abstract ideas. On the contrary, they made efforts through their creativity to portray concrete concepts. Graham Potter has defined Constructivism as a “type of totally abstract (non-representational) relief construction, sculpture, kinetics and painting. The work is ordered and often minimal, geometric, spatial, architectonic and experimental in the use of industrial material.”
Origin and Spread
Constructivism originated in the Soviet Union and was not a wholly artistic movement. Overall, the term Constructivism came to represent a trend, wherein arts, such as sculpture and painting, associated closely with manufacturing, applied arts, as well as architecture. It is said that Kazimir Malevich used the term Construction Art, for the first time, in a contemptuous sense to refer to Alexander Rodchenko’s works, in 1917. The concept of Constructivist Art had a profound influence, much beyond the Soviet Union. It spread into other artistic hubs, including London, Paris, Germany, and even the United States.
Constructivism – History
Before the First World War, Futurism and Cubism influenced the Russian avant-garde more. However, following the 1917 Russian Revolution, they began looking for ways to express the Soviet dreams of those times that included the displacement of capitalism with a different type of system for production as well as distribution. A style of art thereby developed that was closely associated with industrial production. Artists, including Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin, and Wasily Kandinsky, promoted this style.
Constructivism – The Intricacies
Artists working with this art style were of the idea that the finest creations were not those depicting Fine Art, but those of the practical kind, which portrayed man and machines together, that too aesthetically. Several artworks, designed during the early part of the movement, were reflective of the period of revolution and fused political ideology with art. The themes in Constructivist Art are depicted using geometric forms and are not usually emotional and overall the style is minimalistic. Most geometrically shaped figures and objects were made from glass, wood, and sheet metal, things generally used as part of industrial design.
The creative outlook of the artists of Constructivism was integrating materialism with spirituality. One of the most famous Constructivist pieces by Vladimir Tatlin is ‘Monument to the Third International’ (1919-20), an iron frame 22 feet tall, with a cube, cone, and a revolving cylinder, all made out of glass, resting on it. Another excellent example of Constructivism is Naum Gabo’s ‘Head no 2’ (1916). However, in the recent times the influence of Constructivism has been more in architecture.
Source by Annette Labedzki