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Alexander Rodchenko at Tretyakov Gallery

Exhibition view. Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism, 2009. Source


Rodchenko’s abstract art from the period 1915–1920 is a permanent experiment with form, “inventing new discoveries.” The “root” idea of the artist was to destroy the material and clear existence of an object in the space of the canvas. And although “the forms still exist, fly, hover” in works of his “black period,” it is difficult to catch “what is the space, what kind of space it is, and what is the shape in it, and how this shape exists.” Texture in the painting swallows up all the elements – colour, light, volume and space. The artist wrote: “In the works there appears an ‘abstract quality of painting’ and a texture of the surface, all kinds of empty spaces and glazes, etc…in other words a painterly approach to the canvas. Beginning now the picture ceased to be a picture and became a painting or a thing.” Rodchenko’s “black things” stand, as it were, on the boundary between old dead art and the new live art. They are a direct denial of the symbolic and depictive functions which had weighed down painting and taken it away from its very painterly essence. Source

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