Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: constructivism from The Macquarie Dictionary
1.

an art movement originating in Moscow in 1920, whose adherents were concerned with the movement of objects in space, and sought expression by means of mechanical devices and abstract constructions, usually made from industrial materials.

Plural: constructivisms


Summary Article: Constructivism
From The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers

Radical Russian art movement that developed shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. In an attempt to redefine the role of the artist and contribute to the ‘construction’ of a new communist state, a group of artists rejected the ‘art for art's sake’ concept underpinning suprematism and directed their energies to socially useful activities such as industrial, graphic and theatre design, photography and film. Led by Vladimir Tatlin (1885–1953), Alexander rodchenko and El lissitzky, the movement's non-figurative visual vocabulary relied on brightly coloured shapes, often made from materials such as glass, sheet metal and cardboard. Committed to taking their work into the streets, Rodchenko and Lissitzky embraced collage, photography, photomontage, bold lettering design and new printing techniques. The expressive quality of Constructivist typography with its reliance on sans serif faces gave the revolution a potent identity. Constructivist ideas had a profound influence on the educational ethos of the bauhaus, subsequently extending across Europe through publications, exhibitions and exchange visits. During the early 1920s the Soviet government became increasingly concerned about the movement, stressing the need for a pictorial art in the service of the State.

Thames & Hudson © 2012

Related Articles


Full text Article Constructivism
The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art and Artists

An aesthetic which arose in Russia based on the Futurist cult of the machine and first expressed in the 'Relief Constructions' of...

Full text Article Constructivism
The Bloomsbury Guide to Art

A term often used loosely and inaccurately. Specifically it refers to a type of abstract sculpture originating in Russia shortly after the...

Full text Article Constructivism
Bloomsbury Guide to Human Thought

Constructivism is a loosely defined movement in architecture , design and fine art , associated particularly with the decade following the...

See more from Credo