Constructivism art is an experimental and dynamic form of modern art that has been changing the way we think about creativity for decades. This unique style combines elements of painting, sculpture, architecture, and design to create a unified visual image that conveys conceptual ideas through abstract shapes and forms. What is Constructivism art and how has the movement influenced modern artists? By exploring the history behind this vibrant movement, you will gain a better understanding of how this artwork can add energy to any space or project. 

What is Constructivism Art Movement?

First, let’s define Constructivism Art

The Constructivism Art Movement is an important and influential 20th century art movement. To better understand it’s place in history, let’s look at the Constructivism definition.

CONSTRUCTIVISM DEFINITION

What is Constructivism Art?

Constructivism art is a modern art movement that emerged in Russia during the early 20th century. It was heavily influenced by ideas of the Russian Revolution and Marxist revolutionary theory, which placed an emphasis on creative autonomy, individuality, and self-expression. This artistic style focused on the objective truth of the physical world rather than relying on subjective emotions or imagination. 

Constructivist works typically featured geometric shapes and industrial materials such as wood, metal, and glass, often arranged in simple yet powerful compositions to create dynamic visual energy. By combining elements of painting, sculpture, architecture, and design into one unified artwork, Constructivism revolutionized our approach to creativity and abstraction in art.

Characteristics of Constructivism Art

  • Geometric Shapes and Forms 
  • Use of Industrial Materials 
  • Create Unified Visual Image 
  • Bright Colors and Strong Lines

What is Constructivism Art in History?

History of Constructivism Art Movement

Constructivism Art has gone on to influence many movements throughout art history. But what influence the movement itself? 

Constructivism art traces its roots to the early part of the 20th century in Russia when Marxist revolutionary theory began to gain traction and shape creative thought. The art movement emerged in Russia during the early 1920s and was spearheaded by artists such as Vladimir Tatlin, Aleksandr Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, and Naum Gabo. 

They sought to create a new type of art that was politically charged, socially engaged and embodied the collective revolutionary spirit. They believed that art should be used as a tool for social change and revolution, and their works explored themes related to workers' rights, technological progress, industrial production, and societal transformation. 

What is Constructivism Art Alexander Rodchenko Books Please In All Branches of Knowledge

Alexander Rodchenko, Books (Please)! In All Branches of Knowledge, 1924

The Constructivism Art Movment was a reaction against traditional values of classical painting in favor of industrial materials combined with geometric shapes and forms. 

 Constructivism also explored themes related to the Russian Revolution such as autonomy, individuality, objective truth versus subjective emotions, and national identity. These fundamental beliefs continue to inspire constructivist artwork today.

Constructivism Artists

Visual Elements of Constructivism Art 

Visual elements are integral to constructivism art. Constructivism artists use a variety of different visual techniques, such as collage, superimposition, fragmentation, repetition, and scale manipulation in order to create powerful visuals that elicit strong emotional responses from viewers. Throughout these techniques, there are a few consistent visual elements. 

Geometric Shapes and Forms

Constructivism uses geometric shapes and forms to create artwork that embodies a collective revolutionary spirit. Artists like Alexander Rodchenko used industrial materials in combination with cubes, circles, squares and other geometric shapes to create abstract artworks that were seen as symbolic of the new era of Russian society. 

What is Constructivism Art El Lissitzky Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge

El Lissitzky  •  Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919-1920

Constructivist artwork also often featured words or symbols associated with the Russian Revolution, such as the hammer and sickle, to convey its core message of national identity and autonomy.

Use of Industrial Materials 

Industrial materials are an integral part of constructivism art. Artists like Alexander Rodchenko used utilitarian materials like metal, glass, wood, and concrete to create abstract sculptures that acted as a visual expression of the collective revolutionary spirit. 

What is Constructivism Art Vladimir Tatlin Monument to the Third International

Vladimir Tatlin  •  Monument to the Third International

Constructivism also believed in using industrial materials as a way of honoring the simple shapes and forms of everyday life, such as those found in factories and machines. 

By combining these materials with geometric shapes, artists were able to make tangible statements about their beliefs in individual autonomy and national identity.

Bright Primary Colors and Strong Lines

Constructivism art uses strong lines and bright primary colors like red and yellow to create bold visual statements. Artists like Lyubov Popova and Kasimir Malevich used geometric shapes and forms to emphasize the revolutionary spirit that was required in Russian society during the early 20th century. 

What is Constructivism Art Alexander Rodchenko Trekhgornoe Beer Will Drive Out Homebrew

Alexander Rodchenko  •  Trekhgornoe Beer Will Drive Out Homebrew! (1925)

They also used vivid colors and sharp lines to invoke a sense of energy, vitality, and modernity. By using these techniques together, constructivism artists were able to create works that embodied their revolutionary visions for the future of Russia.

What is Constructivsim Art Used For?

Themes in Constructivist Artwork 

Constructivism art is strongly rooted in political and social themes and aims to be a tool for sparking change in the world. Along with themes of industrialization, other constructivist works focus on topics such as workers' rights, class struggles, poverty, education reform, and social revolution. Let’s look at the main themes in constructivist artwork through some constructivism examples.

Creative Autonomy and Individuality

Creative Autonomy and Individuality in constructivism art was the idea of creating works of art that were individual, autonomous expressions of the artist's own vision and beliefs. 

What is Constructivism Art Enthousiasm Symphony of the Donbas – Dziga Vertov

Enthousiasm: Symphony of the Donbas (1931)  •  Dziga Vertov

This allows the piece to be true to the artist's unique style, vision, and perspective. By being self-expressive, they were able to make their own personal statement while still adhering to some unified themes or stylistic principles.

Objectives Truth Versus Subjective Emotions 

Constructivism artists believed that objective truth could be found through abstract forms and lines, while subjective emotion could be communicated through vivid colors, shapes, and forms. This allowed them to create works that were both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally powerful. 

What is Constructivism Art Oppressed Peoples of the Whole World Gustav Klutsis

Oppressed Peoples of the Whole World (...), 1924  •  Gustav Klutsis

The combination of objective truth and subjective emotions helped constructivism artists to create visually stunning works that also conveyed deep meaning and thought-provoking messages.

Marxist Revolutionary Theory

Marxist Revolutionary Theory in constructivist art was a major influence on the movement. Many constructivist artists were inspired by Marxist revolutionary philosophy, which emphasized using art as a tool for social change and cultural upheaval. 

What is Constructivism Art Russian exhibition poster — El Lissitzky

Russian exhibition poster (1929)  •  El Lissitzky

Constructivist artists embraced the idea of creating works that challenged traditional artistic norms and spoke to the political and economic issues of their time. They used abstract forms and vivid colors to convey powerful messages about working-class oppression and inequality, creating works that expressed the struggle for freedom and progress.

Up Next

A Guide to Western Art Movements

Constructivism was among many important Western art movements. To learn more about other influential art movements, check out our next article. 

Up Next: Art Movements Guide →
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  • Kyle DeGuzman graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, & New Media. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado spending his time writing, filmmaking, and traveling.

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