Alexander Rodchenko: A Duty to Experiment


Instead of being an illustration of reality, for Rodchenko, photography was a means to represent intellectual constructs visually. This, in turn, made the artist himself an artist-engineer.

Pioneer girl, 1930 © Rodchenko’s Archive / 2011, ProLitteris, Zürich via Fotomusuem WInterthur

Already a known painter, sculptor and designer in 1924, Alexander Rodchenko conquered traditional photography with the slogan “Our duty is to experiment!” This resulted in a reconsideration of the concept and role of photography, and that is where conceptual work entered the stage.

Rodchenko was much more than a dynamic image maker. He tirelessly promoted his concept of Russian Constructivism by writing manifestos to accompany almost every one of his picture series.

Shukhov Tower, 1929 © Rodchenko’s Archive / 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich via Fotomusuem WInterthur

Destabilizing diagonals, harsh contrasts, tilted views, and picture and text collages are design elements found in his photographs. To this day, they form, together with his texts, a unique document of the artistic energy that is also the trademark of Alexander Rodchenko’s posters, invitation cards and publications.

Girl with a Leica, 1934 © Rodchenko’s Archive / 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich via Fotomusuem WInterthur

Rodchencko took part in the pioneering exhibition “Film und Foto” of the Stuttgart Werkbund in 1929. At around this time, the mood began shifting in Russia, and photography was increasingly being instrumentalised by the state in the interests of socialism.

Rodchenko was forced repeatedly to defend himself against accusations of formalism made over his photograph “Pioneer with Trumpet,” and in the end he was expelled from the October artists group, which he himself had co-founded in 1928, after refusing to adapt his style.

Pioneer with a trumpet, 1930 © Rodchenko’s Archive / 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich via Fotomusuem WInterthur

The Exhibition, Alexander Rodchenko – Revolution in Photography at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Grüzenstrasse is open until August 14th 2011. For further info, visit: Fotomusuem WInterthur.

written by webo29 on 2011-07-11 #news #russia #constructivism #b-w #lomography #exhibition #zurich #news #alexander-rodchenko


  1. disdis
    disdis ·

    I love his pictures, collages and posters! The maestro of the angles!

  2. plyshbel
    plyshbel ·

    He was a really great man and photographer...especially for Russia!

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