Artist profile

Alexander Rodchenko

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. His work was characterised 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.


Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Began studies under Nicolai Fechin and Georgii Medvedev at the Kazan Art School
Met Varvara Stepanova, whom he later married
Continued his artistic training at the Stroganov Institute in Moscow
Created his first abstract drawings at the Stroganoff Institute, influenced by the Suprematism of Kazimir Malevich
Appointed Director of the Museum Bureau and Purchasing Fund by the Bolshevik Government, responsible for the reorganization of art schools and museums. Also secretary of the Moscow Artists' Union and set up the Fine Arts Division of the People's Commissariat for Education.
Died in Moscow, Russia