Alexander Rodchenko. «Worker’s Club». Reconstruction. Dedicated to the 120-th anniversary of the artist


Moscow October 4, 2011

The exhibiton: «Worker's club Alexander Rodchenko» was held by State Tretyakov Gallery within support of Sepherot Foundation.


Permanent exhibition of the State Tretyakov Gallery «Art of the Twentieth Century» on the Crimean Arbor acquired a new unique exhibit - the reconstruction of the interior of the «Worker’s Club» which was originally created in 1925 by Alexander Mikhailovich Rodchenko (1891-1956). «Worker’s Club» rightfully became history of design of the 1920s, as one of the most notable works reflecting the aesthetics of constructivism and its desire for inventive functional solutions. The «Worker’s Club» was conceived by A. Rodchenko as a new type of public interior, which is not just a subject and household decor, but served a life forming function, exerting a formative influence on the rest and activities of the modern working class. Designed for the Soviet pavilion at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts and the art industry in Paris, the «Worker’s Club» promoted constructivism as a new understanding of the functionality and efficiency of space as opposed to the aesthetics of the bourgeois taste. The architect of the Soviet pavilion at the Paris exhibition in 1925 was one of the leaders of constructivist Konstantin Melnikov, while Alexander Rodchenko worked on the general decor of the pavilion.
The «Worker’s Club” was designed by A. Rodchenko reasoning from the concept of multi-functional space, in which simple shapes reflected the new aesthetic ideals. Furniture and equipment were manufactured in Paris according to the drawings, while books, posters and pictures were brought from Moscow. The equipment, except for furniture and lighting, included a fold-flat tribune, a wall screen for displaying illustrative materials, corner of Lenin, a setting for the wall newspaper and many other things. Almost all of these things were based on the «moving» principle, which allowed to «unfold the subject during its work on a large area and to fold it compactly at the end of the work». In designing the interior of the «Worker’s Club», techniques of transformation were widely used, so that one subject could easily be converted into another. A fold-flat tribune served as the center of transformation of the premises. Equipped with a screen, a sliding wall for posters, horizontal podium for exhibits or performances of readers, it should serve as a universal setting for lectures, theatrical evenings and discussions. Other items were also multifunctional: a table for reading in unfolded state increased its effective area thrice, the chess table for two persons was equipped with swivel board so that players could change the color of figures without getting up.


A. Rodchenko was awarded a silver medal for the «Worker’s Club» project. At the end of the Paris Exhibition, the interior was presented to the French Communist Party and was never exhibited in Russia. The «Worker’s Club» was reconstructed several times in accordance with drawings of A. Rodchenko and the surviving photographs from 1925 - completely or fragmentarily (in 1979, 1989, 1990, 1991). The practice of including reconstructions of lost objects in the permanent expositions and exhibitions is widely used in modern museums. Reconstructions of sculptures of N. Gabo, concave reliefs of V. Tatlin, spatial objects of A. Rodchenko are known. Such reconstruction allows filling the gaps in the historical presentation of the artistic process and to present the work of artists in their necessary fullness. This reconstruction was made by German specialists in 2008 for the exhibition «From the plane to the space. Malevich and early modernism» in Kunsthalle Baden-Baden and then presented to this museum by the State Tretyakov Gallery for large contribution to the organization of Russian avant-garde exhibitions in major museums in Europe in 2008-2009. The donation was implemented with the financial support of the Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein) and Russian collectors V.V. Tsarenkova, A.V. Dadiani, A.Yu. Smuzikova.The showing of photographic works of A. Rodchenko from the collection of the Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein), one of the most representative private collections of Russian art, coincided with the presentation of the «Worker’s Club». The Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein) is one of the most representative private collections of Russian art, in which the central place is occupied by Russian avant-garde: paintings and drawings of K. Malevich, N. Udaltsova, L. Popova, O. Rozanova, P. Filonova, N. Suetin, I. Chashnik and many other artists, as well as photographs and photomontages of L. Lissitzky and A. Rodchenko. Interest of the foundation in art of Russian avant-gard motivated its participation in the project of presentation and exhibition of the reconstruction of the interior of A. Rodchenko’s «Worker’s Club» in the State Tretyakov Gallery. The showing of photographic works of this artist from the collection of the Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein) coincided with the vernissage of the «Worker’s Club». Rodchenko’s artistic activity wasn’t limited to easel art and different fields of design, his innovations touched the sphere of photography as well. Wonderful portraits, sharp reportage snapshots, experiments with lightning and angles rightfully wrote his name in the history of photographic art of the twentieth century.

Vernissage will be held on October 4, 2011 at 16.00
The State Tretyakov Gallery
Krymsky Val, 10 Hall № 11

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