For the discussion was chosen the text in Helen Armstrong’s Graphic design theory: Readings from the field will be “Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group”. The artist chosen for the following research is Aleksandr Rodchenko…
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This paper illustrates that “Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group” by Aleksandr Rodchenko, Varvara Stephanova, and Alexei Gan is a declaration against art for the sake of art. The Constructivists believed graphic design and art should be functional. The group wanted to ‘construct’ art that served a purpose. The ending of Imperial Russia and the beginning of the Soviet Union greatly impacted the Constructivists. Art was for the former Romanov government. The new Communist government did not need art, but something that was functional. Aleksandr Rodchenko and his wife and partner, Varvara Stephanova, begin the Constructivist Group during a chaotic time for the Russian people. A small percentage of Russians at the beginning of the 20th century was rich. These people included royalty and a few others. The rest of the Russian people were peasants. The peasants had to do all the work for the royalty and the rich. While the rich lived well off, the peasants were starving from giving all their crops to the rich. As a result, the Russian people started listening to the views of a German named Karl Marx. Marx’s views were every individual should work to the best of their abilities. The fruits of the societies labor would be split evenly. For Rodchenko, whose parents were laborers, the Communist way of thinking inflamed his imagination. His graphic designs showed the influence of Marxism. As the Russian Revolution gained momentum, Rodchenko became an adamant Communist. Rodchenko’s “Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group” was modeled after the Communist Manifesto....
For Rodchenko, whose parents were laborers, the Communist way of thinking enflamed his imagination. His graphic designs showed the influence of Marxism. As the Russian Revolution gained momentum, Rodchenko became an adamant Communist. Rodchenko’s “Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group” was modeled after the Communist Manifesto. Rodchenko felt “work of the old art world as shamefully elitist and ego driven (Armstrong 9). He wanted to create art inspired by functional and minimal elements. In the beginning of the Russian Revolution, Rodchenko was a painter (Armstrong 22). As his Communist beliefs became more clear, Rodchenko became a assembler or a Constructivist. He started to use the bare minimum in Communist posters. Geometric lines, shapes, bold block lettering, along with red, black, and white colors created a minimal look with the maximum impact. One example of Rodchenko’s work is Lengiz – Books in all Branches of Knowledge. This poster is an advertisement for Leningrad Department of Guidant (State Publishing House). The advertisement is below: (Rodchenko 1925). This image has a circle with straight geometrical lines. The black and white emphasize the woman yelling her message is a powerful tool. “Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group” defines this style. In this declaration, Rodchenko reaffirms the values and intentions of the Constructivists. The first paragraph states: We don’t feel obliged to build Pennsylvania Stations, skyscrapers, Handley Page Tract houses, turbo compressors, and so on. We didn’t create technology. We didn’t create man. BUT WE, Artists yesterday CONSTRUCTORS today. 1. WE PROCESSED the human being 2. WE ORGANIZE technology 1. WE DISCOVERED 2. PROPAGATE 3. CLEAN OUT 4. MERGE
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