Update Post: November 28, 2023 11:12 pm
The exhibition “Rodchenko. Personal” as the starting point of a series that explores the ways in which artists perceive everyday life and personal space. First on the list is the innovator of photography, painting, graphic and object design, Alexander Rodchenko The exhibition will display 58 iconic works from the 1920s and 1930s, personal objects, periodicals, memorabilia from the author’s diaries and letters. Editor BURO Anastasia Drozdova talks about five reasons why we cannot miss this event.
Alexander Rodchenko is an artist, photographer and founder of modern advertising and design. Many are used to seeing him as an avant-garde artist and pioneer. However, within the framework of the exhibition “Rodchenko. Personal”, the emphasis of the artist’s professional activity is deliberately transferred to his personal life. We will explore Rodchenko using, of course, works, as well as personal objects and diary extracts. The curators of “Zotov” are confident that, along with the components of the exhibition, visitors will experience most of the events of the master’s life: they will meet his friends and colleagues in the workshop; you will see Rodchenko admiring his wife Varvara Stepanova; You will feel how the artist values the time spent with his parents and discover why he preferred a cap to a French hat.
“I think this exhibition will be of interest to a wide range of people, they will have the opportunity to compare the photographs with how the author felt and how his loved ones saw him. It will be surprising how far Rodchenko’s personality is from his heroic image of the pioneers, for example. It turns out that he is very gentle and sensitive, and looks at his family with special love. This can be seen through the portraits of his mother, his wife and his daughter, important women in the artist’s life,” says curator Dmitry Nikishov.
Alexander Rodchenko, “Portrait of a Mother”, 1924 Alexander Rodchenko, “In the Studio of Rodchenko and Stepanova”, 1925 Alexander Rodchenko, “The Poet Vladimir Mayakovsky”, 1924
The exhibition tells about the life and work of the artist, about his discoveries in the art of photography, which have not lost their relevance today. Particularly noteworthy are the famous “Rodchenko angles”, the embodiment of his spiritual desire to “see extraordinarily ordinary things.” The exhibition is based on works from different years: from the first experiments of the 1920s to the end of the 1930s, coming from two albums from the museum’s “Portfolio” series. These same photographs will serve as a kind of guide to action: they will allow you to see everyday life from a different angle and build from the details your own image of the world, which Rodchenko formed with the help of improvised objects, cameras and lenses. . . As an avant-garde artist, he had a great sense of space and could literally subjugate it.
The author had the help of conceptual photography techniques. For example, Rodchenko often photographed things from unusual angles. Angles, especially known as “bottom up” and “top down,” were a great advance for photography in the 1920s. The second characteristic technique of the photographer is the diagonal, which is the basis of composition . It organizes space and creates dynamics, altering the static and balanced composition, which the artist considered necessary to combat. These techniques, together with close-ups, rhythmic contrasts of light and shadows (especially expressive thanks to black and white colors), create truly unique expressive images of seemingly ordinary things. The artist refused to put on productions and filmed what was happening around him, life itself.
Alexander Rodchenko, “Balconies”, 1925 Alexander Rodchenko, “Staircase”, 1929 Alexander Rodchenko, “Street”, 1929
To make the exhibition as voluminous as possible, the curators of “Zotov” called on Alexander Lavrentyev, a doctor of art history and part-time grandson of Rodchenko and Stepanova. Lavrentiev approached the process with knowledge of the matter and previous experience: he used a method of gluing prints onto a sheet of embossed paper. Rodchenko himself used to mount prints using this method for domestic and foreign exhibitions, and all prints for the current one were made in the artist’s laboratory.
Another tradition passed down in the Rodchenko family from generation to generation is the ability to capture everyday life. The author often traveled along the “A” tram route, taking photographs along the way that formed the basis of the city photographic series. In Rodchenko’s work, a special place is occupied by photo reportage, a special photographic genre in which the author not only captures a moment of reality, but also conveys to the viewer his attitude towards it. Rodchenko defined a photo report as “an examination of a situation from all sides”, as a series of photographs in which different frames are juxtaposed: documentary facts, everyday description of the process, angles, details up to abstract themes, when the subject It disappears, but the rhythm and texture remain.
Alexander Rodchenko, “Pioneer Woman”, 1930 Alexander Rodchenko, “Bevel Gears”, 1929 Alexander Rodchenko, “Wildflowers”, 1937
Visitors to the exhibition “Rodchenko. Personal” will have an extensive public program. It will include conferences on the artist and photography techniques, optics and structure of the human eye, meetings and workshops with famous photographers. Among them are representatives of architectural, documentary and street photography. A novelty of the program parallel will be photo walks. There will also be classes on cyanotype for visitors of all ages – a silver-free photographic process that produces a blue-tinted image when printed. And for children, “Zotov” is preparing a series of master classes on photo printing and photo collage.
Exhibition “Rodchenko.Personal” Exhibition “Rodchenko.Personal”
A special program “Field of Vision” is planned at the Zotov.Kino cinema. It aims to explore how classic and archival cinematic works shape the artist’s contemporary perspective. Practicing photographers and art industry experts will participate in the selection and discussion of the films.
They plan to start with a film chosen by Rodchenko himself, a comedy starring Charlie Chaplin. The photographer was very fond of the circus, a series of his works dedicated to circus art is not a documentary description of specific acts, but a philosophical understanding of life. The avant-garde valued the sense of magic and freedom of expression in a circus show. This interest was reflected in the choice of films and images.
Details about the exhibition can be found on the website.
Exhibition “Rodchenko.Personal” Exhibition “Rodchenko.Personal”