Thursday, October 21, 2004

Russian Consructivism

Russian Consructivist poster
The Best Nipple, 1923
by Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Mayakovsky

This poster, an advertisement for a baby soother, is a product of the Russian Constructivist school of design. And a very bizarre image. An example of how artistic self absorption and obsession with theoretical agendas can lead to some really strange stuff.

In the 1910s, 20s, & 30, there were many developments in industrial design, advertising and graphic design. Graphic design included magazine covers, posters for products, movies and propaganda, was about direct address with the viewer, to get their attention, created through the assemblage of parts, not a representation but a construction, included text and photos and shapes, geometrical angles, and often photo-montage.

Russian constructivism is a combination of Marxism and Supremitism (Supremitism is based in formalist principles).
Industrial production is applied to artistic and cultural production.

Artists adopted the machines of the industrial age as a model for their own work and rejected representation in favour of construction: assembling parts in an effective way.

This philosophy of design carried into film making. Eisenstien's theory and practice of montage followed constructivist ideas: the principle of montage is connected to construction of parts in the most effective, efficient way.Parts constructed not in an ornamental or decorative way, but the organization of elements was supposed to require least amount of effort and parts.

This poster aside, there were in fact some really great images produced.


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