Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 28.05. – Sunday, 14.08.2011

Alexander Rodchenko – Revolution in Photography

Modernism made photography what it is. It gave it self-confidence and made it trust itself. Self-confidence because photography in the 1920s recognised and developed its own possibilities and qualities: a probing vision of the world, an investigation of the visible reality from various perspectives, direct, clear, from above, below, behind, from the front, but without references to the pool of art history. Russian Constructivism is an important part of this great shift. In 1924, Alexander Rodchenko, already known as a painter, sculptor, and designer, conquered traditional photography with the slogan “Our duty is to experiment!” This resulted in a reconsideration of the concept and role of photography. Conceptual work entered the stage. Instead of being an illustration of reality, photography became a means to visually represent intellectual constructs, and the artist became an “artist-engineer.”

Rodchenko was much more than a dynamic image maker. He wrote manifestos promoting his concept of Russian Constructivism to the world: Destabilising diagonals, harsh contrasts, tilted views, and picture and text collages are design elements found in his photographs. To this day they form, together with his texts, a unique document of the indefatigable artistic energy that is also manifest in Alexander Rodchenko’s posters, invitation cards, and publications.

The exhibition was curated by Olga Sviblova. A cooperation with the Moscow House of Photography Museum.