Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Constructivism

Constructivism is a Russian art movement founded around 1920 by Vladimir Tatlin. Like Futurism, Constructivism was concerned with mechanization and technology but was essentially optimistic, rather than violent. As a reaction to the "world order" that had culminated in World War I, the Constructivists sought a new order, in which the conjoining of art and machine production could promote peace and unity. From Russia, Constructivism spread to Germany, Paris, London and, eventually, the United States. In Germany, Walter Gropius' Bauhaus was sympathetic to Constructivist concerns. The movement was characterized by a whole-hearted endorsement of the modern, a commitment to the abstract, and the glossing-over of the subjective and individualistic. Basic elements, a pared-down style, and order were emphasized. Geometry and abstraction, rather than emotionalism, were favored, and practicality was favored over "fine art." Constructivists sought to ally art making with the concerns of working men. Many Constructivists were proletariat in outlook, and their work celebrated the work of others, often portraying construction and machine operation. Soviet artists involved in Constructivism include its founder, Vladimir Tatlin, El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodchenko, Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner. Internationally, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Theo van Doesburg, Ben Nicholson, Josef Albers and Hans Richter were involved in the movement.


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