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The Russian Avant-garde: Experiments in Abstraction

The Russian Avant-garde: Experiments in Abstraction. Purpose. When the new century came, the quest for national identity caused an ambitious and aggressive change in every part of Russian culture. There was a chauvinistic desire to beat the West at its own game. Russian Futurism.

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The Russian Avant-garde: Experiments in Abstraction

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  1. The Russian Avant-garde: Experiments in Abstraction

  2. Purpose • When the new century came, the quest for national identity caused an ambitious and aggressive change in every part of Russian culture. • There was a chauvinistic desire to beat the West at its own game.

  3. Russian Futurism • inspired by the writings of Marinetti, Russian Futurists sought to create a movement which would cause the Western artists to look to Russia for guidance • sought to create a format which was uniquely Russian in style • became increasingly used as a device of propaganda and a voice for social reform • brought to an end by the government's official endorsement of Socialist Realism

  4. The Role of Artists • saw their work as a reflection of the social, economic and cultural climate of the moment, and vehicles that could initiate change • disseminated their radical ideas which enabled new groups to evolve their own philosophies, keeping visual art in a constant state of development • appreciated the significant impact their ideas could have on society

  5. The Russian Avant-garde: Suprematism (1913 - 1919) Constructivism (1913 – 1921)

  6. Suprematism (1913 - 1919) • was a revolutionary art movement promoting pure aesthetic creativity, “the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art” • dispenses with subject matter, perspective, and traditional painting techniques • centers on the visual qualities of shape and space, free from the constraints of real world objectivity • presents an art of dynamic purity to stir emotions and promote contemplation • uses squares, rectangles, circles, triangles and the cross—taking cubist geometry to its logical conclusion of absolute geometric abstraction

  7. Kazimir Malevich (1878 – 1935)

  8. His Aim • to create work so pure and so abstract that it allowed you to transcend into quiet thought , beyond the object and into the spiritual • to free art from the burden of the object • to demonstrate that a painting can exist independent of any reflection or imitation of the real world

  9. Kazimir Malevich. The Harvest of the Century (1912). Oil on canvas.

  10. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying (1915). Oil on canvas.

  11. Kazimir Malevich. Red Square (1915). Oil on canvas.

  12. Kazimir Malevich. Boy with Knapsack—Color Masses In the Fourth Dimension (1915). Oil on canvas.

  13. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition(1915). Oil on canvas

  14. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Painting(1915-16). Oil on canvas

  15. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematism (Supremus No. 58), 1916. Oil on canvas.

  16. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Painting(1916). Oil on canvas

  17. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematism (1916-17). Oil on canvas.

  18. Kazimir Malevich. Black Square (1923-29). Oil on canvas.

  19. Kazimir Malevich. Black Circle (1923-29). Oil on canvas.

  20. Kazimir Malevich. Black Cross (1923-29). Oil on canvas.

  21. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition: White on White (1918) Oil on canvas.

  22. Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition (1923-25). Oil on canvas.

  23. Kazimir Malevich. Sportsmen (1928-30). Oil on canvas.

  24. Kazimir Malevich. Self-portrait (1933). Oil on canvas.

  25. Constructivism (1912 – 1921) • translated the 'spirit' of the machine age and the new society into a practical visual form • shifted its emphasis toward designing functional constructions which could benefit the emerging soviet state • ventured into the production of items beneficial to the new Russia, the materials used were appropriate to the product and process whether ceramics, clothing, posters or architecture • interested in an immediate application to create a new civilization in the Soviet Union, with art becoming the motor of the propaganda machine

  26. The Style • a purely non-objective approach in the making of artwork, • without reference to the real world • was essentially geometric, precise and almost mathematical; in fact a number of Rodchenko drawings were executed with compass and ruler • used squares, rectangles, circles and triangles as the predominant shapes in carefully composed artworks, whether drawing, painting, design or sculpture • emphasized the dominance of the world of machines and structures over nature

  27. Methods and Materials • dealt with such a wide range of materials that anything was possible; wood, celluloid, nylon, Plexiglas, tin, cardboard and early forms of plastic were used through a variety of constructing methods from glue through to welding • lacked the more engineered approach developed by International Constructivism • employed new materials, construction, and joining methods, including aluminum, electronic components and chrome-plating

  28. Vladimir Tatlin 1885-1953

  29. Tatlin • began constructing relief sculptures in a variety of materials including tin, glass, wood and plaster • combined actual materials through careful construction, where the real space between them would be treated as a pictorial element, thus forcing their inter-relationship as an important aesthetic consideration • introduced space as a compositional factor, changing the face of modern sculpture • used suspended wire across the corner of a room, divorcing himself from the earthbound tradition of past sculpture

  30. Vladimir Tatlin. Nude (1910-14). Watercolor.

  31. Vladimir Tatlin. Sailor (1911). Watercolor.

  32. Vladimir Tatlin. Corner Relief (1915). Mixed media.

  33. Vladimir Tatlin. Counter Relief ( 1914-15). Iron, copper, wood, rope.

  34. Photograph of Tatlin Inaugurating Monument to Sofia Perovskaya, December 20, 1918, USSR

  35. Vladimir Tatlin. Monument to the Third International (1991-20). Wood, iron, and glass. Had the full-scale project been built, it would have been approximately 1300 feet high, the biggest sculptural form ever conceived by man. It was to have been a spiral metal frame tilted at an angle and encompassing a glass cylinder, cube, and cone. The various glass units, housing conferences and meetings, were to revolve, making a complete revolution once a year, once a month, and once a day. The structure would have served to steer the course of humanity on earth.

  36. Sculptural maquette of Monument to the Third International as it appeared on the Mayday parade in Moscow in 1926

  37. Vladimir Tatlin. Letatlin (1932). Wood, cork, metal, silk, ball bearings, and whalebone.

  38. Vladimir Tatlin. Reconstruction of Letatlin (1929-31).

  39. Vladimir Tatlin. Letatlin (1932). Wood, cork, metal, silk, ball bearings, and whalebone.

  40. Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)

  41. Vladamir Mayakovsky. Revolutionary Poster (1920).

  42. Vladamir Mayakovsky. Revolutionary Poster (1920).

  43. El Lissitzky(1890 – 1956)

  44. El Lissitzky. Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (1919).

  45. El Lissitzky. Untitled (Sketch for Roza Luxemburg’s Memorial), 1919-20.

  46. El Lissitzky. Proun AII (1920). Black ink, gouache, watercolor and graphite on tan cardboard. Proun is the name he gave his non-objective painting- constructions, in which he experimented with the elements of contemporary geometric abstraction combined with perspective illusions. It is an acronym for “Project for the Affirmation of the New” in Russian.

  47. El Lissitzky. Proun 5a (1922). Distemper, tempera, varnish and pencil on canvas.

  48. El Lissitzky. Composition (1920). Black ink, gouache, watercolor and graphite on tan cardboard.

  49. El Lissitzky. Proun 19D (1922).Gesso, oil, collage, etc., on plywood.

  50. El Lissitzky. Proun G7 (1923).Distemper, tempera, varnish and pencil on canvas.

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