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“Rodchenko from the Pushkin Museum” Exhibition Opens in Colmar, France

08.07.2017

The exhibition “Rodchenko from the Pushkin Museum” that opened in the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, France on July 8 will last until October 2, 2017. Alexander Rodchenko (1891–1956) was the key figure of the Russian avant-garde, the founder of the constructivist movement and the pioneer of the 20th century photographic art. More than 100 of his works from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts will be displayed at the exhibition.

The scope of the exhibition is unique: it covers the most productive period of the innovator’s life from the early 1910s until the mid-1930s. The main periods of Rodchenko’s artistic life and the whole range of his talent will be represented, including abstract paintings, drawings and watercolors, 3D installations and architectural models, ads and designs, book and magazine covers, and photographs.

In his works, Rodchenko developed the idea of constructivism, a concept which emerged from his multiple experiments in the sphere of non-objective art, shaping a brand-new philosophy – creation of practical things expressed in the transition from painting to design and from abstraction to reality. This is the most interesting period of the Russian avant-garde, when artists turned from the art for art’s sake to the architecture and design.

Rodchenko’s constructivist art triggered the development of what was later referred to as “the mainstream trend in the art of the 20th century” that transformed the style and vision of everyday life. Constructivism is an industrial re-creation of the world, foundation of the new art and the new society.

Rodchenko came into the spotlight on the international level as an innovator and a constructivist in 1925 at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, which took place in Paris. Together with Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Mayakovsky he designed the USSR pavilion. Rodchenko created and presented the famous USSR Working Class Club. Its open space concept included the socially advanced type of interior with different functional areas: a library with a reading room, a chess zone, a tribune, and show-cases. The fact that is less known is that Rodchenko also brought all his works (paintings, drawings, posters, books, and projects) to France hoping to organize an exhibition in one of the galleries. But his dream didn’t come true. The project in Colmar is assumed to demonstrate the kind of exhibition Rodchenko wanted to make 90 years ago.

Many of the works that Rodchenko used to bring to Paris, since 1991 belong to the Department of Private Collections of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Since then we have organized many exhibitions to show Rodchenko’s artistic legacy around the world. However, this exhibition proposed by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts to the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar is the first broad-scale exhibition of Rodchenko’s works to ever open in France.

Exhibition curators:

Alexander Lavrentiev, Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Industrial and Applied Arts
Alla Lukanova, Deputy Head of the Department of Private Collections at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Alexey Savinov, Senior Researcher of the Department of Private Collections at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

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