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Constructivism – the direction the 1920s Russian art. Proponents of constructivism has set itself the task of environmental engineering. They sought to understand the possibilities of new technology, the consistency of the appropriateness of design, as well as metal, glass and wood aesthetic possibilities. Luxuries they tried to set off against the new forms of simplicity. Constructivist architecture was formulated theoretical principles of A. Vesnina and M. Ginzurgo theoretical languages​​. In practice, these principles have been used for the first time brothers Vesnina “The House” project in Moscow (1923). 1924 was a constructivist creative organization – OSA, whose representatives have discovered a functional design approach. Their theoretical and practical activities of constructivists has a number of errors (the lack of consideration to weather conditions).

Constructivism has influenced the aesthetics of artistic design  appearance. Constructivist-based activities have been developed for use in convenient new dinnerware, furniture types. Constructivism had a significant impact on the banner graphic and book design development. Some of the ideas of constructivism has been used in western European fine art. The term “constructivism” in Western art is relative: it describes the architecture of one of the functional movements which sought to highlight the expression of contemporary design, painting and sculpture – one of the avant-way, using an early constructivist ideas.

Soviet constructivism is a modern art movement that began around 1913. Constructivist art, theatre and exhibitions were produced by a group of avant-garde artists in Moscow, Odessa and St. Petersburg. Constructivist art began with works of primarily abstract constructions. After 1916 the brothers Naum (Pevsner) Gabo and Antoine Pevsner sculptural added an emphasis related to the technology of the society in which they were created. Constructivism was closely related to another modern art movement named suprematism, which sought “to liberate art from the ballast of the representational world.” It consisted of geometrical shapes flatly painted on the pure canvas surface.

Constructivism was founded by an artist/architect named Vladimir Tatlin. Tatlin was born in Moscow in 1885 and studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and at the Penza Art School. An underlying feature of Constructivism is that it was promoted by the new Soviet Education Commissariate which used artists and art to educate the public. Later, as an educator, Tatlin emphasized design principles based on the inner behavior and loading capacities of material. It was this work with materials that inspired the Constructivist movement in architecture and design.

Constructivist art is characterized by a total abstraction and an acceptance of everything modern. It is often very geometric, it is usually experimental, and is rarely emotional. Objective forms and icons were used over the subjective or the individual. The art is often very simple and reduced, paring the artwork down to its basic elements. Constructivist artisits often used new media to create their work. The context of Russian Constructivist art is important, “the Constructivists sought an art of order, which would reject the past (the old order which had culminated in World War I) and lead to a world of more understanding, unity, and peace.”

Konstruktyvizmas – kryptis 1920-ųjų metų rusų mene. Konstruktyvizmo šalininkai iškėlė sau aplinkos konstravimo uždavinį. Jie siekė suprasti naujos technikos galimybes, jos logiškumą, konstrukcijos tikslingumą, o taip pat metalo, stiklo ir medienos estetines galimybes. Prabangai jie stengėsi priešpastatyti naujų formų paprastumą. Architektūroje konstruktyvizmo principai buvo suformuluoti teorinėse A. Vesnino ir M. Ginzurgo teorinėse kalbose. Praktiškai šie principai pirmą kartą buvo panaudoti brolių Vesninų “Darbo rūmų” Maskvoje projekte (1923). 1924-aisiais buvo sukurta konstruktyvistų kūrybinė organizacija – OSA, kurios atstovai atrado funkcionalaus projektavimo metodą. Savo teorinėje ir praktinėje veiklose konstruktyvistai padarė eilę klaidų (nepakankamas atsižvelgimas į klimatines sąlygas).

Konstruktyvizmo estetika įtakojo šiolakinio meninio projektavimo atsiradimą. Konstruktyvistų darbų pagrindu buvo kuriami patogūs naudojimui nauji indų, baldų tipai. Konstruktyvizmas turėjo nemažą įtaką plakatinės grafikos ir knygų konstravimo vystyme. Kai kurios konstruktyvizmo idėjos buvo panaudotos vakarų europos vaizduojamame mene. Terminas “konstruktyvizmas” vakarų mene yra sąlyginis: architektūroje jis apibūdina vieną iš funkcionalizmo srovių, siekusią pabrėžti šiuolaikinių konstrukcijų ekspresiją; tapyboje ir skulptūroje – vieną iš avangardizmo krypčių, naudojusę ankstyvojo konstruktyvizmo idėjas.

Post Revolution (1917-1932) Constructivism

In the first year of Soviet Power, all of the architects who refused to emigrate as well as the new generation denounced any features of classical heritage in their works and started to propagate formalism. The most influential of all Revivalist themes. Giant plans were drawn for massive cities with technical advances. The most ambitious of all was Tower of the Third Internationale planned in 1919 by Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953), а 400 meter spiral wound around a tilted central axis with rotating glass chambers. Impossible in real life, Tatlin Tower inspired a generation of Constructivist architects in Russia and abroad. Real Shukhov Tower, rising 160 meters above Moscow, was completed in 1922. According to the initial project, the Hyperboloid Tower by Vladimir Shukhov with the height of 350 meters had the estimated mass of only 2200 ton, while the Eifel Tower in Paris with the height of 350 meters weighs 7300 ton.

One of the most important priorities in post-revolutionary period was a mass reconstruction of cities. In 1918 Alexey Shchusev (1873-1949) and Ivan Zholtovsky founded the Mossovet Architectural Workshop, where the complex planning of Moscow’s reconstruction as a new Soviet capital took place. The Workshop employed young architects that soon emerged as avant-garde leaders. At the same time, architectural education concentrated in VKhUTEMAS college, divided between revivalists and modernist.

In 1919 Petrograd saw a similar planning and educational setup headed by experienced revivalist Ivan Fomin (1872-1936). Other cities followed suit, and the results of the work carried out there were to make dramatic changes in tradition Russian city layout. The first large scale development templates generalny plan were drawn there. Effectively the whole city was planned as a series of new wide avenues, massive public structures, liquidation of worker quarters and turning them into proper housing with heating and sanitation. First apartment building of this period was completed in 1923, followed with a surge of public housing construction in 1925-1929.

It was in Petrograd that in 1917-19 the first example of the new style was erected on the Field of Mars consisting of a monument designed by Lev Rudnev (1886-1956) Strugglers of the Revolution. This complex consisted of a series of laconic and expressive granite monoliths, and became the focal point of further development in Soviet sculptural and memorial architecture.

However the most famous construction of this time was indeed Lenin’s Mausoleum by Alexey Shchusev. Originally a temporary wooden structure stood, topped with a pyramid, with two attachments for entrance and departure. In 1930 it was replaced with the present building set in stone. The combination of dark red and black labradorite punctuated the slenderness and precision of the construction.

Iakov Chernikhov – Ukranian born Russian Constructivist architect & artist [1889-1951]

The massive development of technological processes and materials also influenced on the constuctivist elements in structure design. During the erection of the Volkhov Hydroelectric Station (1918-26, architects O.Munts and V.Pokrovsky), the traditional outlines on the window arches is still used (despite concrete being employed in construction). However the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (1927-32) which was built by the collective of architects headed by Viktor Vesnin (1882-1950) took an innovative decision that had a curved dam with a rhythmic pattern of foundations. A large role in the architectural life of 1920s Russia was played by creative unions, one of which that was formed in 1923, was the Association of New Architects (Asnova), which put forward an idea of synthesisng architecture and other creative arts in the way that building gained an almost sculptural external impression, these were to serve as visual points for orientation of a human in space. Members of Asnova also developed the first designs of Moscow’s skyscrapers, none of which were realised at the time (1923-1926).

Another new creation that came from post-revolutionary Russia was a new type of public buildings such as Worker’s club or Palace of Culture. These became a new focus for architects, who used the visual expression of large elements blended with industrial motifs. The most famous of these was the Zuev Club (1927-29) in Moscow by Ilya Golosov (1883-1945), whose composition relied on the dynamical contrast of simple shapes, planes, complete walls and glazed surfaces.

The symbolical expression of construction became the showpiece in works designed by Konstantin Melnikov (1890-1974), notably Rusakov Workers’ Club (1927-1929) in Moscow. Visually the building resembles resembles a part of a gear and each of the three cantilevered concrete “teeth” is a balcony of the main auditorium that could be used individually or combined into a large theater hall. The sharpness of the volumetric composition and the “transition” of internal space (often called by Melnikov himself as a “tensed muscle” made it one of the most important structures of Soviet Architecture.

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