Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Alexander Rodchenko

Recently I went on a visit to Barcelona where I saw a retrospective of Russian constructivist Alexander Rodchenko. A key figure in developing the teachings of the Bauhaus, a template that is still used to educate budding designers today, I realized, he, like I, started out almost a fine artist but developed into a designer for its applied practicality and the integration of society and art; Art for the people that was functional.

“The idea of ‘fine art’ being superior to the so called ‘practical arts’ was to [him] no longer valid.” Stangos p.163, 1985

Certain elements struck a chord with the work I do today in the studio, specifically his graphic design and photomontage, the strength of this particular type of work has stood the test of time and its influence can be seen in many contemporary works by new designers. In the 1920s Rodchenko did some of his first photomontages; he designed all the front covers for the then revolutionary magazine LEF. (fig.8.) Some of these images are more stripped back than that of the usual constructivist style. But the restrained manner at which they have been executed makes them clearer more direct and have a stronger sense of scale, much like a poster.

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