Russian Constructivism Discussion


This weeks discussion for the Unit 5 project was about Russian Constructivism. As I had looked into this topic recently on my blog, I had to be in charge of discussing this in the class. I got a couple of videos based on Russian Constructivism and told the class a bit about what it is etc. I used my blog to tell them the basics of Russian Constructivism and give them a brief description of the background they had. In this session I gave a short presentation to tell them this. Here is some information that I had mentioned in this session:

  • Russian Constructivism was a movement that was active from 1913 to the 1940′s.
  • It was a movement created by the Russian avant-garde, but quickly spread to the rest of the continent.
  • A lot of straight lines, basic colours and bold shapes to make up the designs.
  • Constructivism had a great effect on modern art movements, of the 20th century, influencing trends such as Bauhaus etc.
  • They wanted to get a message across through their designs.
  • A few of the most famous designers included; Vladimir Tatlin, Kasimir Malevich and El Lissitzky.

Below are some images that I showed in my presentation and you can see the structured work, geometric shapes and also the use of colour that was kept limited.


Two of the video clips that I showed them were:

After watching the clips, we then sat and thought of a question each that we wanted to ask about Russian Constructivism overall. The question we decided to discuss in more detail was:

Why is constructivism so structured?

Some of the main key noted that I wrote from this further discussion are below:

  • The whole movement started in 1913, around the time of the First World War and the Russian Revolution.
  • We all automatically picked up on the fact that the designs we had looked at included a lot of straight lines and geometric shapes using block colours.
  • Then we went back to talking about the Russian Revolution trying to link that to the reason why Russian Constructivism was done,by getting the vote for women and also getting equal rights and opportunities for both the rich and poor. That then lead us to talk about how Constructivism actually helped to get women the vote and change the rights
  • We then briefly mentioned that this kind of design work was propaganda, but very different to that in WW2, however this type of propaganda was aimed towards the public by the them wanting the change.
  • We then briefly talked about how the art and designs that were made, were practical and made their point very well sending the main message across to the audience.
  • One of the Constructivism’s main aims was to give art a meaning and ‘not have art, for arts sake’. They wanted people to start taking art more seriously, and pay attention to the message behind the design. This then lead us to talk about how the structure of their designs and how the structure makes the message clear and visible, meaning people can access it and it can have an impact.
  • Going from the previous point we then discussed that from this point onwards graphic design changed and overall became more for a purpose then just a piece of design, people took it more seriously and recognised the messages behind the design.
  • After that, we started to discuss the music video and how there was quite a lot of industrial looking equipment, which went back to our idea of architecture and buildings.
  • The class and I then found out that the colours used in the designs, red, black and white were the colours of the government party running for the revolution at the time, this then made more sense to us as to why these colours were used because they were used to represent the people fighting for their rights.

Why is constructivism so structured?
To get the main message across. Having simple and structured designs around at that time, would make people notice and pick out the key information quicker and it would seem more striking  A good design means that the message will be received fully and hopefully make an impact. A well designed and structured design lets people fully understand it what the message is and then that will have a bigger impact and make more of a change.


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