Gustav Klutsis (1895 -1944) photographic montage

Advertisements
Gustav Klutsis "Budni letayuschih ludei" by N. Bobrow 1928
Gustav Klutsis “Budni letayuschih ludei” by N. Bobrow 1928

Gustav Klutsis was a pioneering Latvian photographer and a major member of the Constructivist avant-garde.

Gustav Klutsis (1895 – 1944) was a Latvian artist and graphic, poster and applied arts designer. Born in 1895, Klutsis was a devoted supporter of the Bolshevik regime and a member of the communist party. He was considered the pioneer of photomontage in the Soviet Union and an acclaimed graphic designer and painter. Klutsis was one of the earliest artists to use the photomontage technique for visual propaganda. He subsequently emerged as a brilliant creator of Stalinist political art.

Biography

From 1924 to 1930, he taught at the Vkhutemas (Higher Artistic and Technological Workshops). He actively organised the USSR Pavilion at the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Dรฉcoratifs et Industriels in 1925.

He entered the Latvian Rifle Regiment after training in Riga from 1913 to 1915 and in Petrograd from 1915 to 1917. He studied under Kasimir Malevich and Antoine Pevsner at the State Free Art Studios (Svomas).

Influences

He experimented with materials in their own right until adopting a more practical outlook in the design of agitprop propaganda and events, influenced by the abstract styles of Suprematism and Constructivism. Photomontage was often used to enhance his posters’ context and political message.

Gustav Klutsis Untitled 1926
Gustav Klutsis Untitled 1926

Klutsis summed up his role in the revolution as follows;

“My task was to make the revolutionary struggle of the working class and Soviet reality the contents of my creative output, converting it into artistic images comprehensible to the masses” (Pisch, 2016)

Despite his propaganda work for the regime, he was killed shortly after being arrested at a prison near Moscow.

Works

Gustac Klutsis Dinamicheskii gorod 1919
Gustac Klutsis Dinamicheskii gorod 1919
Gustav Klutsis Axionometric Construction (c. 1921)
Gustav Klutsis Axionometric Construction (c. 1921)
Gustav Klutsis Vserossiiskii soiuz poetov. Vtoroi sbornik stikhov (All Russian Union of Poets: Second Collection of Verse) 1922
Gustav Klutsis Vserossiiskii soiuz poetov. Vtoroi sbornik stikhov (All Russian Union of Poets: Second Collection of Verse) 1922
Gustav Klutsis, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Sergei Senkin
Gustav Klutsis, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Sergei Senkin Molodaia gvardiia. Leninu (The Young Guard: For Lenin) 1924
Gustav Klutsis, Valentina Kulagina
Gustav Klutsis, Valentina Kulagina Iazyk Lenina. Odinadtsat’ priemov Leninskoi rechi (Lenin’s Language: Eleven Devices of Lenin’s Speech) 1925
Gustav Klutsis Kino-front: organ assotsiatsii revoliutsionnoi kinematografii 1926
Gustav Klutsis Kino-front: organ assotsiatsii revoliutsionnoi kinematografii 1926
Gustav Klutsis Postcard for the All Union Spartakiada Sporting Event 1928
Gustav Klutsis Postcard for the All Union Spartakiada Sporting Event 1928

Photomontage – Amazon

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

Advertisements

More on Constructivism

The constructivists and the Russian revolution in art and achitecture

he “Russian avant garde”, it’s usually called, though the artists themselves didn’t use the term; they were known as the futurists, then productivists, and most consistently, constructivists. Even the “Russian” is a misnomer – the individuals in question were frequently Ukrainian, Latvian, Belarussian, Georgian.

The return of Constructivism as a force de majeure in the contemporary art realm

V-A-C Foundation, in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago, presents “Space Force Construction”, a group exhibition curated by Matthew Witkovsky, Richard and Ellen Sandor, Katerina Chuchalina, and Anna Ilchenkois. The show brings together more than 100 works from the 1920s and ’30s, along with major reconstructions of spaces, sculptures and functional objects by key Soviet artists.

The early Soviet images that foreshadowed fake news

“We all live in an age of fake news. But it wasn’t invented with Twitter and YouTube – it was used in the 1930s to make real people disappear,” said curator Natalia Sidlina at the opening of a new exhibition at London’s Tate Modern.

You may also be interested in

Vasilii Dmitrievich Ermilov (1884-1968) Russian architect and book set designer – Encyclopedia of Design

Vasilii Dmitrievich Ermilov (1884-4968), a Russian architect, book and set designer, interior designer, and illustrator. He was born in Kharkov (now Ukraine). Ermilov Vasily Dmitrievich 1894-1968 Painter, graphic artist, architect, scene-designer, master of decorative and applied arts. Vasily Ermilov was born to a family of a tailor. He studied at the parish school.

Nikolai Mikhailovich Suetin Russian artist, ceramicist and designer – Encyclopedia of Design

Nikolai Mikhailovich Suetin (1897-1954) was a Russian artist, ceramicist, and designer. He was born in Metlevsk Station Kaluga. He was the husband of Anna Leporskaia. Between 1918-22, he studied Vitebsk Art School. He became a member of Kazimir Malevich’s Posnovis/Unovis group in 1919, and, with Il’ia Chashnik, was one of Malevich’s closest collaborators.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.