Russian-born US abstract sculptor. One of the leading exponents of constructivism, he was one of the first artists to make kinetic sculpture. In later works he often used transparent plastics in works that attempt to define space rather than occupy it, as in Linear Construction (1942; Tate Gallery, London).
Gabo and his brother Antoine Pevsner published their ideas in the Realist Manifesto (1920). From this period date many of Gabo's most important works, including geometric constructions in metal and transparent plastic and the Vibrating Rod (1920; Tate Gallery, London), one of the earliest sculptures employing real motion. In the 1920s he taught at the Bauhaus school of design in Germany.
Gabo, born in Bryansk, studied engineering and medicine in Russia and Germany. On a visit to Paris in 1913 he made contact with avant-garde artists and turned to sculpture. He began using the name Gabo in 1915. During World War I he was in Stockholm, Sweden, working with his brother. There he made his first sculptures constructed from metal and wood which were concerned with plane surface rather than volume, such as Constructed Head No 2 (1916; Tate Gallery, London). He returned to Russia after the Revolution, where he sided with those artists who believed in the continuation of pure art as opposed to those, like Vladimir Tatlin, who thought that art should serve strictly practical purposes. In 1922 Gabo left Russia for good and moved to Berlin, teaching at the Bauhaus, and 1935–1945 he was in Britain, where his presence gave considerable impetus to the development of abstract art. He settled in the USA in 1946.
Many of his drawings and sculptures are in the Tate Gallery, London.
Sculpture of the 20th Century
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