Aleksandr Rodchenko
The Russian Avant-Garde
Experiment and Innovation
New Cultural Institutions
Spatial Constructions
The Death of Painting
Graphic Design
Portraits of Mayakovsky
Workers' Club 1925
Design for Theater and Film
Stalin's Power
pioneer girl
at the telephonePHOTOGRAPHY
In the fall of 1925, using a camera he had bought in Paris, Rodchenko embarked on his first extended series of outdoor photographs--oblique views, from above and below, of his own apartment building on Miasnitskaya Street in Moscow, across the courtyard from VKhUTEMAS. Although he did not make further pictures in this vein until 1927, the series laid the cornerstone of his mature photographic aesthetic.

Rodchenko's Lef colleague Viktor Shklovsky had defined the principal aim of art as recovering the immediacy of experience by making the familiar seem unfamiliar. Many of Rodchenko's photographs achieve this simply by departing from the habit of looking--and photographing--straight ahead. He intended to encourage people to see things from fresh points of view by doing just that in his photographs. His style of oblique angles extended into photography the dynamic diagonal compositions of his early paintings. And it helped to shape a vibrant, experimental aesthetic of mobile perspectives, which flourished throughout Europe in the second half of the 1920s. Rodchenko regarded photography as mechanical and objective and therefore socially progressive, but much of his best work of this period was made independently, not on assignment, and it had no use as propaganda.

© 1998 The Museum of Modern Art, New York