Russian Constructivism

Figure 1: A poster that represents the Russian Art Movement.


“Russian Constructivism was a movement that was active from 1913 to the 1940s. It was a movement created by the Russian avant-garde, but quickly spread to the rest of the continent. Constructivist art is committed to complete abstraction with a devotion to modernity, where themes are often geometric, experimental and rarely emotional. Objective forms carrying universal meaning were far more suitable to the movement than subjective or individualistic forms. Constructivist themes are also quite minimal, where the artwork is broken down to its most basic elements. New media was often used in the creation of works, which helped to create a style of art that was orderly.” (The Art History Archive, 2016)

Figure 2: The Russian Constructivism Graphics.

It was suggested that Totem had structural elements similar to those seen in Russian Constructs. After researching, we found that the use of geometric lines, the spirals and the helix was a similarity between our elements and the Russians art movement, as it is obvious in the previous figure.


Figure 3: Design for the Monument to the Third International (1919-1920)
Artist: Vladimir Tatlin

Key Ideas:

  • Constructivists proposed to replace art’s traditional concern with composition with a focus on construction. Objects were to be created not in order to express beauty, or the artist’s outlook, or to represent the world, but to carry out a fundamental analysis of the materials and forms of art, one which might lead to the design of functional objects. For many Constructivists, this entailed an ethic of “truth to materials,” the belief that materials should be employed only in accordance with their capacities, and in such a way that demonstrated the uses to which they could be put.


  • Constructivist art often aimed to demonstrate how materials behaved – to ask, for instance, what different properties had materials such as wood, glass, and metal. The form an artwork would take would be dictated by its materials (not the other way around, as is the case in traditional art forms, in which the artist ‘transforms’ base materials into something very different and beautiful). For some, these inquiries were a means to an end, the goal being the translation of ideas and designs into mass production; for others it was an end in itself, a new and archetypal modern style expressing the dynamism of modern life.


  • The seed of Constructivism was a desire to express the experience of modern life – its dynamism, its new and disorientating qualities of space and time. But also crucial was the desire to develop a new form of art more appropriate to the democratic and modernizing goals of the Russian Revolution. Constructivists were to be constructors of a new society – cultural workers on par with scientists in their search for solutions to modern problems.


We tried to consider those factors in term of the composition, the truth of the material, by using wood, and the fundamental analysis of the materials and forms of art.




Figure 4: Simulating TOTEM poster inspired from a

As an inspiration from the Russian Constructivism for our advertisement, we created our own propaganda. By using similar influence, geometric sharp lines, strong contrast between the foreground and the background, minimal limited colors. Therefore, Phoebe designed the poster based on the “Moma Poster” but in term of using the basic shapes that we decided to specify on our project.


The Art Story. (2016). Constructivism Movement, Artists and Major Works. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Dec. 2016].

Figures List:


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