“However, if I may say so,” Nicholas Petrovich interjected, “you deny everything or, to put it more precisely, you are destroying everything…. But it’s essential to construct as well.” To which Bazarov the Nihilist replied: “That is not our affair…. First, we must make a clean sweep.” Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons (1862)
Russian Constructivism was as much about destruction and Nihilism as it was about construction. The aforementioned quote gives insight to their beliefs. The Russian Constructivists believed to build or start something new, everything previous had to be wiped out or destroyed, and rebuilt from a new foundation. Kazimer Malevich was the founder of Russian Supremacism, which was a precursor to Russian Constructivism and held a similar mantra. Malevich says, “The forms of Suprematism, the new realism in painting, are already proof of the construction of forms from nothing, discovered by Intuitive Reason. I have destroyed the ring of the horizon and escaped from the circle of things.” Malevich criticized art by severely reducing objects into nothing, which was a beginning for artist who sought to take themselves out of the art for a more Socialist connection with it. Vladimir Tatlin is credited with creating Russian Constructivism, and was also Malevich biggest opponent on the philosophy of art and design. There wer two factions to Russian Constructivism: the Constructive Realists and the Constructive Idealists. The groups differed in their goals, but shared the same goal of breaking with history and creating a new world.
Russian movie poster "The Living Corpse" designed by Grigory Borisov and Pyotr Zhukov 1929. This was a unique use of typography for the time
Contemporary Design by Mayakovs Pavloskiy.
Novyi Lef cover designed by Rodchenko using his own photography 1927. Russian Constructivism.
Bookshelf created by contemporary Russian designer.