Thursday, 22 January 2009

Rodchenko and Popova at the Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is to host an exhibition of the graphic work of Alexander Rodchenko and Lubova Popova - "Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism" opening on 12th February 2009. 

 As part of the exhibition the DVD film "Alexander Rodchenko and the Russian Avant-garde" will be on sale in the gallery bookshop throughout the course of the exhibition where it can be purchased along side other films in the series "The Russian Avant-garde - Revolution or Renaissance" by Copernicus Films and directed by Michael Craig, (click on various links for more information) and include the titles "Meyerhold Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde", "Mayakovsky" and "Architecture and the Russian Avant-garde".

Rodchenko and Popova's designs revolutionised the way art was conceived in its relation to advertising and society. Popova was active in the world of graphics but also spent a considerable amount of energy designing sets for the theatre. She designed a set for Meyerhold's production of The Magnainimous Cuckold. The construction was a complete break from traditional concepts of theatre design and began a trend in constructivist set design in the Moscow theatre in the mid to late 1920s. 
Popova's design of spinning wheels and raised platforms against a plain backdrop (see banner above) was the perfect way of fulfilling Meyerhold's intention of combining the three dimensionality of the actors body and the two dimensionality of the stage design.
 The whole production showpieced Meyerhold's new acting and performance techniques called biomechanics based on movement and dance. Popova's work with Meyerhold is featured in the film "Meyerhold,Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde" which was filmed in Moscow and uses actors. The goal of the film was to understand the meaning of biomechanics as well as using archive footage and graphics to explore Meyerhold's development as a director.