Rodchenko, Aleksandr

Rodchenko, Aleksandr. 1891–1956, Russian painter, sculptor, photographer, and designer, b. St. Petersburg. One of the most important and versatile avant-garde artists to emerge after the Russian Revolution, he was a leading adherent of constructivism. Influenced by suprematism, he began to create abstract geometrical drawings and paintings beginning in the mid-1910s. His Black on Black (1918) was painted after his colleague Casimir Malevich's celebrated White on White (1918). Particularly active artistically from 1917 to 1921, he worked with the constructivist Vladimir Tatlin to create abstract sculptures marked by pierced geometrical forms and the use of wood, metal, and cardboard. Rodchenko also turned his attention to photomontage, which led to his active work as a photographer. His striking, dramatic, and often stylized images of friends, family, and public life made him the foremost Soviet photographer of the 1920s. His later photographs were generally more overtly political. Rodchenko was also an outstanding designer of posters, books, and sets and costumes for theater and film.

See A. Rodchenko and V. Stepanova, The Future Is Our Only Goal (tr. 1991); D. Elliott, Rodchenko and the Arts of Revolutionary Russia (1979); A. Lavrentiev, Alexander Rodchenko, Photography, 1924–1954 (1996); V. Margolin, The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitsky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917–1946 (1997); M. Dabrowski, Alexander Rodchenko: Russian Revolutionary Modernist (1998) and Alexander Rodchenko: Painting, Drawing, Collage, Design, Photography (2002); G. Gmurzynnska, Alexander Rodchenko: Spatial Constructions: Catalogue Raisonné of Sculptures (2002).

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