Tuesday Art ATTACK- Alexander Rodchenko "Battleship Potemkin Poster (1925)

Alexander Rodchenko was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in December of 1891. HIs father died when he was four which forced his family to move to the more affordable city of Kazan in 1909. As a child he had no exposure to art or the art world. Magazines and books were his only mean of visual pleasure and he would create collages from the two. 

At the age of 19 he began his studying art at the Kazan Art School in Kazan, Russia. Once he graduated in 1914 he moved to Moscow to study further at the Strognanov Institute. Here he fell highly under the influence of the last Russian avant-garde movement, Suprematism. He studied under the Suprematism's top dog Kazimir Malevich. Rodchenko took principles from Suprematism and combined them with Cubo Futurism. However, as time went on he became less interested in painting and more interested in the evolution of design. 

In 1917 the Bolshevik revolution erupted across Russia. The new government wanted to reconstruct the education and artistic system to create loyal cogs to the wheels of the Soviet machine. Rodchenko was put partially in charge of the task of restructuring Russia's artistic education system. Upon completing this task he became secretary of the Moscow Artist Union and found the Institute for Artistic Culture. 

Throughout the 1920's he spent some time teaching in several Moscow schools, but more importantly he became the most prominent member of the Productivist movement. This movement focused on creating functional art to be used in daily life. He designed new housing layouts, clothing, furniture, and restaurants. In 1924 the German Dadaism was fading out but its use of photomontage influenced Rodchenko. He worked only in photomontage for a period time. He would create these montages using text as well as found images, and he would even incorporate images he shot himself. Through most of the 1920's (1923-1928) Rodchenko also worked very closely in collaboration with the famous poet Mayakovsky. The two created several books and influence each other deeply. 

In the 1930's, Rodchenko began to create posters and propaganda pieces using his photo montage experience. These works often displayed sport scenes or depictions of the new active lifestyle that was emerging in the Russian society. This series of works became very popular at the time and he was asked to design the covers for several culture magazines and movies which gained him recognition among the totality of Russian society.

In 1942 he returned to painting, and continued to exhibit throughout Russia. He died in Moscow in 1956. Rodchenko had an extreme influence on modern Graphic Design as well as modern abstract painting. If you look at his work, you can see that even many artist today are indebted to him for their inspiration.  

Lenin Workers Club in Paris, 1925 (he designed it)



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