press release

After the success of the exhibition "Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism", at the Tate Modern in London – attendance far exceeded the organizers' expectations, with more than 102,155 visitors, while the British press (Guardian, The Independent, The Times, Evening Standard) wrote exceptional reviews – the exhibition is to be presented by the State Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki-Greece) from June 24 to September 20, in the exhibition halls of Moni Lazariston.

The exhibition presents the work of two of the most important artists of the Russian avant-garde, Aleskandr Rodchenko (1891-1956) and Liubov Popova (1889-1924). This is a major project, with around 350 paintings, designs, structures, reconstructions, photographs and archives, intended to focus on and present the progress of Constructivism through the movement's two greatest representatives. Observing the birth, the formation of the principles and the extensions of Constructivism, the exhibition also includes designs for stage sets, magazine covers, patterns for textiles and clothing, indications of the inclusion of art in production and daily life, as well as of the contribution the two artists made to the promotion of their era's artistic creation to the avant-garde.

The Russian Revolution was accompanied by a notable period of artistic experimentation known as Constructivism, which raised questions about the main fields of art, and brought to the forefront the issue of art's position in the new society. The representatives of the movement accepted the challenge of the concept of works of art as unique commodities; they investigated more collective working methods and examined how they could contribute to daily life through design, architecture, industrial production, theatre and cinema.

Rodchenko, whose wife, Varvara Stepanova, was also a great artist, actively embraced practically all of the movement's expressions, from advertising to photography and cinema. Popova's achievements in painting, theatre, the graphic arts and textile design occurred despite her poor health and her personal tragedy – her husband died of typhus in 1919, and she spent a whole year trying to recover. Both she and her son died just five years later of scarlet fever.

The representatives of Constructivism compared the artist to an engineer, who arranges materials in a scientific and objective manner and produces works of art with the same logic as any other manufactured object. In theory, it was an art that overcame the differences between the two genders. Gender equality was a basic communist principle, and this was one of the periods in history when female artists were evaluated as equally important as their male counterparts.

More specifically, however, visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to enjoy 350 works, including canvases from Popova's "Painterly Architectonics" series (1917-1919), film posters, costumes and stage sets by Rodchenko. Among the most notable posters are the ones for the classic film "Battleship Potemkin", directed by Sergei Eisenstein in 1925.

A prominent position in the exhibition is held by the works of the two artists that were presented in the historic 1921 exhibition entitled "5 x 5 = 25", for which the two artists cooperated with their colleagues Aleksandra Ekster, Aleksandr Vesnin and Varvara Stepanova. These works include the famous monochromatic paintings by Rodchenko "Pure Red Colour", "Pure Yellow Colour" and "Pure Blue Colour". The exhibition consists of unique works from the period of the Russian avant-garde, contributed by 15 institutions from around the world. The SMCA has contributed 60 works, designs and archival material from the Costakis collection, thus making the greatest contribution to the exhibition.

Curators: Margarita Tupitsyn & Vicente Todoli / On the Greek side, the curators of the exhibition at the SMCA will be the SMCA's director, Maria Tsantsanoglou and the SMCA curator Angeliki Charistou.

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Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism
Works from the Costakis collection
Alexander Rodtschenko, Ljubow Popowa
Kuratoren: Margarita Tupitsyn & Vicente Todoli, Maria Tsantsanoglou, Angeliki Charistou

12.02.09 - 17.05.09 Tate Modern, London
24.06.09 - 20.09.09 State Museum of Contemporary Art - Thessaloniki