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Alexander Rodchenko

BIOGRAPHY

1891-1956

Russian painter, sculptor, designer and photographer. Rodchenko was a central exponent of Russian Constructivism, owing much to the pre-Revolutionary work of Malevich and Tatlin, and he was closely involved in the cultural debates and experiments that followed the Revolution of 1917. In 1921 he denounced, on ideological grounds, easel painting and fine art, and he became an exponent of Productivism in many fields, including poster design, furniture, photography and film. He resumed painting in his later years. Rodchenko's work was characterized by the systematic way in which from 1916 he sought to reject the conventional roles of self-expression, personal handling of the medium and tasteful or aesthetic predilections. His early nihilism and condemnation of the concept of art make it problematic even to refer to Rodchenko as an artist: in this respect his development was comparable to that of Dada, although it also had roots in the anarchic activities of Russian Futurist groups.