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On view  |  Painting and Sculpture I, Gallery 14, Floor 5

Aleksandr Rodchenko. Spatial Construction no. 12. c. 1920

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Aleksandr Rodchenko (Russian, 1891–1956)

Spatial Construction no. 12

c. 1920
Plywood, open construction partially painted with aluminum paint, and wire
24 x 33 x 18 1/2" (61 x 83.7 x 47 cm)
Credit Line:
Acquisition made possible through the extraordinary efforts of George and Zinaida Costakis, and through the Nate B. and Frances Spingold, Matthew H. and Erna Futter, and Enid A. Haupt Funds
MoMA Number:
Audio Program excerpt

On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century

, November 21, 2010–February 7, 2011

Director, Glenn Lowry: In the 1920s, influenced by technology and industry, Russian artists such as Alexander Rodchenko created geometric and precisely composed works of art.

Curator, Catherine De Zegher: Spatial Construction No. 12 is the only remaining piece of the wonderful constructions Rodchenko made in the early 1920s. He cut concentric lines through the plane of a single sheet of plywood so that a series of rings could be unfolded and then rotated to create a geometric volume. So from a two-dimensional object, it becomes a three-dimensional shape. And it could be easily folded back to its original planar condition.

Glenn Lowry: Rodchenko was part of a group of artists known as the Constructivists, who believed art-making could lead to social change and revolution.

Catherine De Zegher: Constructivist works emphasized the collective rather than the expression of an individual artistic self. What the Constructivists, and in particular Rodchenko, were saying is that the line of the new art could not be drawn by hand but had to be drawn with a ruler and compasses. So the lines on the paper are then not the traces of an artist, but in a way are the lines of the implements of construction. And for them that's the line that they can do anything with. They see this as a new possibility to develop their surrounding world, to make people participate in society.

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