Aesthetic Revolutions and Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Movements
Aleš Erjavec is Research Professor in the Institute of Philosophy of the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is the author of Postmodernism, Postsocialism and Beyond, and the editor of Postmodernism and the Postsocialist Condition: Politicized Art under Late Socialism.
This chapter focuses on the development of constructivism in Soviet Russia during the 1920s. It passes through various phases of the movement, touching upon notions of “pure” form, utilitarianism, and agitational or political application. While the achievements of artists such as Popova and Rodchenko are examined in detail, attention is also given to the theoretical or “aesthetic” supporters of constructivism or, at least, of the radical art such as Arvatov, Brik, Gan, Punin, and Tarabukin—arguments being that a primary aspiration of the constructivists was to reduce art to a formula, to make it accessible to the masses. In this regard,...