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Friday, August 31, 2007

Suprematism and Constructivism

Suprematist Walls at the Last Futurist Exhibition in Moscow, 1915Suprematism and Constructivism had opposite aims while sharing the same universe: a set of geometric figures.

For Suprematists the aim was to find the transcendent beyond geometry, like Mondrian and De Stijl; to find the essence of art, like Cubists.

For Constructivists the aim was to find the society starting from geometry, like Bauhaus and Futurism; art to change the world; changing the world by starting with art. Walther Gropius wrote in Bauhaus Manifesto that the old forms are in ruins, the benumbed world is shaken up, the old human spirit is invalidated and in flux toward a new form.

Constructivist posterMalevich and Mondrian were in search of a mystical reality. Other artists belonging to Suprematism or De Stijl would not share the same mystical preoccupations, but all of them would try to understand the essence of art and the realm of what is beyond art (also beyond language, beyond reasoning - I would try to talk sometime of Zaum and of Pobeda nad solntzem).

Tatlin, Rodchenko, Klucis, Moholy-Nagy, Marinetti, were enthusiastic about urbanism, industry, and of course politics. Futurists embraced Fascism, Constructivists and Bauhaus embraced Communism. Кто не с нами, тот против нас (Kto ne s nami, tot protiv nas)!

So, aims were opposite, while the artistic universe was the same, for Malevich as well as for Tatlin. No wonder that the artistic results would often be very much alike. All of them would share the same interest for architecture and urbanism. Bauhaus Manifesto declared for all Avant-Garde: the ultimate aim of all creative activity is a building!

No wonder that history of art takes often Suprematists for Constructivists and viceversa.

(Avangarda 20)


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