February 12, 2012

Liubov Popova

Liubov Popova was a Russian avant-garde artist, painter and designer and lived from April 24, 1889 till May 25, 1924. As a female, her presence was rare in the male-dominated world of Soviet Art. Her art was Cubist, Suprematist and Constructivist. She was born in Ivanovshoe, near Moscow to a wealthy and successful textile merchant and patron of the arts. Her mother also came from a highly cultured family. She was originally trained at a teacher before pursuing her artistic studies. She traveled to investigate and learn new styles of painting. Numerous sketchbooks attest to her desire to apply Cubist analysis to the human figure after gaining first-hand knowledge of cubism she gained studying in Paris. At some point between In 1912 and 1915 she worked with Vladimir Tatlin at his studio in Moscow called the Tower working with his constructions. In 1916 she joined the Malevich’s Suprematist circle where she adopted the rectilinear geometry and white grounds of the Suprematists. Her abstract compositions were distinctive, powerful in which “large geometric planes, boldly colored but with elements of modelling, abut and interpenetrate to create taut and thrusting diagonal compositions.”1 In May of 1920, she joined Aleksandr Rodchenko and they were both pivotal figures in the discussions that defined Constuctivism. They compared an artist to that of an engineer, arranging materials scientifically and objectively, producing works of art as rationally as any other manufactured object.

Liubov’ Popova
Space-Force Construction, 1920-21
Oil with Marble dust of board
Collection George Costakis, Germany

Popova’s Space-Force Construction was made in response to the idea of ‘Construction’ in which a more impersonal method dictated by the materials and stripped if anything decorative or unnecessary. In the above composition, she utilized the creation of space though lines, planes and arcs in which the intersections between the different geometries to create space or planes between them, breaking down the dark color of what life once was with the Bourgeoise before the revolution. The red is clearly the driving force behind the tornado of change, replacing the old with the ideals of the revolution, spreading its force outward to encompass everything, breaking down the dark/gray construct of what had been. The orange seems to represent areas where the revolution had been, eventually turning these areas to the purity of white, representing the melding of everything together to form a utopia. The composition’s movement represents an agitation of the revolution and the affects of the upheaval. This agitation or break down starts to become visible with the dotting of one linear element as well as the implication of its movement outward and onward. This breakdown of rectilinear forms into its industrial components will surly follow. Some rectilinear elements, now absorbed, create an echo of what once was, leaving that imprint on the composition. The geometry and overlaps also imply three dimensionality to the composition

Source: http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=4694

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