Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism
Tate Modern 12 February – 17 May 2009
In recent years, there has seemed to be a continual resurgence in influences from 80′s artistic and cultural movements. From music to fashion and graphic design, every day seems to bring new resonances from recognisable and distinctive 80′s icons, which is in turn generating increasing interest in the different facets of the movement and its relevant origins. The Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism exhibition is an interesting indication of this growing awareness, highlighting one of the period’s main graphic influences, one still evident in many of today’s famous graphic artists, including Neville Brody and Peter Saville. When presented together en-masse their impact does tend to be somewhat diluted, but when taking a closer look and extracting the various elements of importance historically and in terms of today’s graphic design work, their significance is obvious. Milestone Digital was there to take it all in.
For those in the design trade, room eight hold perhaps the most significant work, which is dedicated to the 1921 exhibition ‘5 x 5 = 25’ (the highlight of which has to be ‘Pure Red Colour, Pure Yellow Colour, Pure Blue Colour’ (1921) which was accompanied by a declaration that they would from that point only produce art for every day life; art that played a part in the real world. With Rodchenko’s later move into advertising the importance of this declaration becomes manifest in contemporary Soviet art, and today’s graphic design movements.
For anyone with an interest in the origins and influences of graphic design and to broaden their knowledge, this is both a visually attractive and interesting exhibition. Whilst not earth shattering, it’s well worth a look, and well worth being able to see so many originals in one place.