A leading figure of the European avant-garde between the two world wars, in 1921 Rodchenko coauthored the “Constructivist Manifesto,” which advocated the use of new materials and photomechanical processes in the creation of collective social knowledge and networks of communication. He collaborated with writers Osip Brik, Nikolai Aseev, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Sergei Tret’iakov on the covers and layouts for the Soviet avantgarde journals Lef and Novyi Lef. Rodchenko and his comrades popularized the idea of “factography” through these journals and other documentary projects designed to record the technical and cultural revolutions occurring in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. The Lef-associated filmmaker Dziga Vertov wrote, “We must form a FI LM FACTORY OF FACTS” and mobilized others in Filming Facts. Sorting facts. Disseminating facts. Agitating with facts. Propaganda with facts. Fists made of facts.” Rodchenko was committed to actively transforming reality through mass communication, and he believed that pictures emphasizing odd camera angles, radical foreshortening, and close-ups would energize a mass audience.
Gallery label from The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook, April 16, 2012–April 29, 2013.