Have an account? Login | New to Lomography? Register | Lab | Current Site:

Russian Constructivist Graphic Design: In Service of the Revolution

An art and architecture movement sparked by the Russian Revolution of 1917, Constructivism was spear-headed and encouraged by the Russian avant-garde as a marriage of beauty and practicality. This concept was strongly manifested in the graphic design of the times, and prevailed until the 1940s.

Alexander Rodchenko’s design for the cover of Book About That by Vladimir Mayakovski (1923). Image via DesignBoom.com

Russian Avant-Garde

Going back to the most basic explanation of Constructivist Art, the Russian avant-garde, spurred by the events surrounding the Russian Revolution of 1917, thought that the notion of “art for art’s sake” had to be scrapped. For them, it was time for the bourgeois concept of autonomous art to be cast aside, and a reconstructed art that everyone can enjoy, understand, and take part in be put in its place.

In essence, Russian art around this time revolved around the goal of propelling social change or serving a social purpose, which meant it didn’t have to just look good, there should be some use for it as well. Perhaps, this concept can be best seen and understood from the graphic design point of view.

As can be seen in the examples above, Constructivist graphic design was minimalist, geometric, abstract, orderly, and rarely emotional. It often catered to the ideologies of the movement, which supported the concept of a Utopian society where everyone could benefit from all things — including art. This simplicity can thus be attributed to the need for the common people to understand advertisements, illustrations, and even political propaganda materials, making them active viewers of the artworks laid out before them. This is why Constructivist graphic design has been touted as an important tool for revolutionaries to get their points across.

Famous Artists

The best known artists identified with graphic design around this period include Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, and Anton Lavinsky. These graphic artists and their contemporaries in sculpture, painting, photography, and even architecture later on inspired radical counterparts in the West.

Drawing inspiration from this monumental art movement, Lomography introduces a new film camera that allows you to put together an analogue beauty that is both charming and functional. Called the Konstruktor, the latest addition to Lomography’s roster of cameras is a 35mm SLR camera that you build from scratch and customize to your liking afterwards. Head over to the articles below to find out more about the Konstruktor:

The Konstruktor is the world’s first Do-It-Yourself 35mm SLR camera. With it, you can easily build your very own camera from scratch. It’s the perfect tool for having fun whilst learning the exciting mechanics behind how analogue photography works. Get yours from the Online Shop or Lomography Gallery Stores Worldwide. Find out more about the camera on the Konstruktor Site.

All information for this article were sourced from DesignHistory.com, Art History Archive, historygraphicdesign.com, The Art Story, and Constructivism (Art) on Wikipedia.

written by plasticpopsicle

No comments yet, be the first

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Türkçe, Italiano, Français & Deutsch.