constructivism

constructivism, Russian art movement founded c.1913 by Vladimir Tatlin, related to the movement known as suprematism. After 1916 the brothers Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner gave new impetus to Tatlin's art of purely abstract (although politically intended) constructions. Their sculptural works derived from cubism and futurism, but had a more architectonic and machinelike emphasis related to the technology of the society in which they were created. The Soviet regime at first encouraged this new style. However, beginning in 1921, constructivism (and all modern art movements) were officially disparaged as unsuitable for mass propaganda purposes. Gabo and Pevsner went into exile, while Tatlin remained in Russia. In theatrical scene design constructivism spread beyond Russia through the efforts of Vsevolod Meyerhold. A movement known as British constructivism was founded in the early 1950s by Victor Pasmore that lasted until 1975 and included such artists as Gillian Wise. The group advocated a return to the geometric art of prewar Europe, rejecting the then fashionable American abstraction.

See G. Rickey, Constructivism (1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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