#Lecture 8: 1917 – 1930

::  C  O  N  S  T  R  U  C  T  I  V  I  S  M  ::

Constructivism was an artistic and architectural movement that originated in Russia in 1919 and rejected the idea of “art for art’s sake”.

The movement refers to the ‘non-representational releif construction’, sculpture, kinetics and painting.  It was a time where abstract ideas were transformed into realistic, and in turn designers tried to materialise art into something more real, structural.  Art was combined with architecture and machine production.

One of the key iconic architects of this movement was Vladimir Tatlin, and from the lecture I was very interested with his work.  During his journey to Paris he bacame interested in the works by Picasso and Braque.  On his return to Russia he started making sculptures out of found objects being composited together.   This therefore did not take on any subject reference or particular concepts, thus adopted the Constructivism movement.

The structure above, “The Monument to the Third International” was one of the most famous icon pieces the Tatlin designed, also known as “Tatlin’s Tower”.   The tower was desined in 1920 and was proposed to be made out of iron, glass and steel and be 1,300 feet in height.  There are two features of this piece of architecture that really inspires me.  Firstly, the materials seem really harsh and industrial yet it does have this fragility about it. I really like the compostional contrast between the formation of the building and the material choice.  At the same time it seems to celebrate a robotic element.

It’s structure embodies twin spirals which appear in three bloccks and is tappered upwards into a tower.  The three parts of the building would have a particular function, and simultaneously rotate at different speeds.  The first, a cube was proposed to rotate and complete 360˚ after 365 days.  The second part, a pyramid would complete a full 360˚ rotation every month.  And finally, at the top, a cylinder which would complete it’s rotation after 24 hours.  The structure was never built due to expenses and also for the fact that it was too vast.

The second aspect that impresses me is that the sky was not the limit in this instance.   For the top of the building was designed to be an infomation centre, issuing a daily journal in the form of telegrams which were to be transmitted over and beyond the clouds.  Personally, this really amazes me, the thought behind the design was so advanced and it is somewhat extraordinary for this period.

Tatlin and this Tower really does encourage me to design within my allocated platform.  Platform 8, “Drawing” has been urging me to think and design in a conceptual way.  Tutors have allowed us the freedom to design beyond limits and not to be afraid if the design is not possible to be actualised and built.  Tatlin’s design, in this instance seems that it was never built as it may have been too complicated or the technology needed was not as advanced at the time, however this did not hinder his design.   He seems to have not abided to any limits.  In my platform over the last term, logic has dominated my thought process in my work, and so I believe my work has been somewhat at a  disadvantage.  I have not used the freedom given.  I realise within design, things sometimes cannot be made at that particular time, and may not even be possible however if it is at least persued, one may find that it may be tangible.  I realise the best designs are the most innovative and Tatlin was never discouraged by the extent of his thoughts.


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