Published in 1922 in Russian, Aleksei Gan's Constructivism was the first theoretical treatise of postrevolutionary Russia's emergent Constructivist movement. Fired with revolutionary zeal, it was unquestionably a declaration of war on traditional bourgeois art. Constructivism recasts artists and architects as Constructors, turning away from aesthetic or speculative problems in art and instead focusing on the fusion of art with everyday life in order to create a functional system of design, one in keeping with the great task of building the new communist society. This edition replicates Gan's original layout, which was one of the first experiments in Constructivist typography and graphic design, and it also presents a substantial introductory essay by art historian Christina Lodder that examines Gan's own odd, mercurial character and the tracks he left across avant-garde Russian graphics, architecture, film, and theater. Nearly a century later, Constructivism remains a powerful manifesto, and this new translation will help scholars trace its enduring influence on twentieth-century art and design.
Aleksei Gan (1887-1942) was an agitator, publisher, activist, artist, and promoter, as well as the main theorist and cofounder of the First Working Group of Constructivists. Christina lodder is a renowned scholar of Russian art and professor of the history and philosophy of art at the University of Kent.