J A N U A R Y 11,  2014
Г.Гросс. Едоки пельменей. 1920. Kunstmuseum Дюссельдорф George Grosz. On Constructivists

G. Grosz. Dumpling Eaters. 1920. Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf


[…] Some [artists] pressed on and began to ‘construct’. Although some spoke of dynamics, in short order they discovered that the most immediate expression of that was the dry drawings of the engineer. So the soul and metaphysical speculation were driven out by the compass and the ruler. Constructivism came into play. They saw with greater clarity. […] Its aims were free of archaic, outworn prejudices. The Constructivists wanted objectivity, wanted to work in terms of concrete necessities. They upheld an art whose goals and method could be constructed, perceived and verified.

Unfortunately the Constructivists have a practical failing – they’re falling short of their goal. In most cases they’re still confined within the traditional sphere of art. They forget that, as a rule, there is only one type of constructivist: the engineer, the architect, the welder, the carpenter. In a word, the technician. They set out to be leaders – but were, it turns out, only a reflex. The more honest among them put so-called art aside and focused their energy on the real basis of constructivism: the industrial economy. But in trying to save the precious word ‘art,’ they have compromised it.

[…] In Russia, this constructivist romanticism has a deeper meaning and is more thoroughly socially conditioned than in Western Europe. In Russia, Constructivism is, in part, a natural reflex of the powerful machine-oriented offensive of industrialization. For the farmer the experience of electric power, of red-painted tractors of the Kees Company, of turbines is utterly novel and unheard-of.  There, the canvases combining spiritual and mechanical construction are not as purposeless as in Western Europe. The suggestive power of the machine aesthetic, the (to the layman) almost supernatural  secrets of technology, served as a starting point for the masses, who have responded more emotionally than rationally. The artist is (even if unconsciously) a mediator and recruiter for the ideas generated by industrial development.

[…] In the West, art can no longer fulfill such tasks. Here technology does not have to be detoured through art. For the masses, both in the city and in the country, technology has long been commonplace.”


Art Is in Danger, 1925

George Grosz. Thoughts and Work. Progress Publishers, Moscow. 1975