08 May 2005

Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy

These three names represent the finest of Russian constructivist design at the highpoint of modernism in the 1920s. Typography, advertising, photography, product design: they ranged widely, exploited new technology, and had an influence which is still felt today in the work of people such as Neville Brody. But they were also political revolutionaries, and prepared to put their talents to the service of the Bolsheviks, with results which were sometimes not too clever. Victor Margolin has written a fascinating study The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy which explains how they managed to square their artistic ambitions with their work as propagandists for the communist state. It's an elegant book, well illustrated, and scholarly to the nth degree.

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