Russian Painter, Typographer, and Designer
Movements and Styles: Suprematism, Constructivism
Born: November 23, 1890 - Pochinok, Russian Empire
Died: December 30, 1941 - Moscow, Soviet Union
Comparto esta breve síntesis de la obra de El Lissitski para lectura de mis asignaturas:
La obra de este Diseñador Ruso influyo en la producción de la Bauhaus, del grupo Stijl y desarrollo colaboración con el suprematismo del Ruso Kazimir Malevich contribuyendo a sentitar los principios del arte y del diseño moderno.
El Lissitzky (Эль Лисицкий), pseudónimo de Lázar Márkovich Lissitzky (?·i) (Лазарь Маркович Лисицкий, 23 de noviembre de 1890 - 30 de diciembre de 1941), fue un artista ruso, diseñador, fotógrafo, maestro, tipógrafo, y arquitecto. Fue una de las figuras más importantes de la vanguardia rusa, contribuyendo al desarrollo del suprematismo junto a su amigo y mentor, Kazimir Malévich, y diseñó numerosas exposiciones y obras de propaganda para la Unión Soviética. Se le considera uno de los principales representantes del arte abstracto y pionero en su país del constructivismo. Su obra influyó grandemente en los movimientos de la Bauhaus, el constructivismo, y De Stijl, y experimentó con técnicas de producción y recursos estilísticos que posteriormente dominaron el diseño gráfico del siglo XX. En español, su apellido también se ha transliterado como Lissitzky, mientras que en inglés y otros idiomas se suele transliterar como Lissitzky. El diminutivo El viene de Eliazar, una variante de su nombre de pila.
Toda la carrera de Lissitzky se guió por la creencia de que el artista podía ser un agente del cambio social, lo que más tarde resumió en su dicho, "das zielbewußte Schaffen" (La creación orientada a un objetivo).1 Era judío, y comenzó su carrera con ilustraciones de libros infantiles en yidis, en un esfuerzo por promover la cultura judía en Rusia, un país que estaba pasando por un enorme cambio en aquella época, y que acababa de revocar sus leyes antisemitas. A los quince años de edad comenzó a impartir enseñanza, una tarea a la que se dedicó durante la mayor parte de su vida. A lo largo de los años, enseñó desde diversos cargos, escuelas, y medios artísticos, difundiendo e intercambiando ideas a un ritmo rápido.
Llevó consigo su ética cuando trabajó con Malévich liderando el grupo artístico suprematista UNOVIS, donde desarrolló una serie suprematista variante propia, los Prouns, y más aún todavía en 1921, cuando asumió un cargo como embajador cultural de Rusia en la Alemania de Weimar, trabajando con una serie de figuras destacadas, a las que influyó, tanto de la Bauhaus como del movimiento De Stijl. Durante el resto de su vida, realizó innovaciones significativas y cambios en los campos de la tipografía, diseño de exposiciones, fotomontaje, y diseño de libros, produciendo obras respetadas por los críticos y obteniendo el aplauso internacional por sus diseños de exposiciones.
Así siguió hasta su muerte, produciendo su última obra en 1941, un cartel de propaganda soviética que instaba al pueblo a construir más tanques para la lucha contra la Alemania nazi.
El Lisstski 1 Izq. y Marc Chagall 3 Izq.
Russian avant-garde artist El Lissitzky made a career of utilizing art for social change. In fact, he made the very first abstract work with a political message. Although often highly abstract and theoretical, Lissitzky's work was able to speak to the prevailing political discourse of his native Russia, and then the nascent Soviet Union. Following Kazimir Malevich in the Suprematist idiom, Lissitzky used color and basic shapes to make strong political statements. Lissitzky also challenged conventions concerning art, and his Proun series of two-dimensional Suprematist paintings sought to combine architecture and three-dimensional space with traditional, albeit abstract, two-dimensional imagery. A teacher for much of his career and ever an innovator, Lissitzky's work spanned the media of graphic design, typography, photography, photomontage, book design, and architectural design. The work of this cerebral artist was a force of change, deeply influencing modern art including the De Stijl artists and Bauhaus instructors.
Lissitzky believed that art and life could mesh and that the former could deeply affect the latter. He identified the graphic arts, particularly posters and books, and architecture as effective conduits for reaching the public. Consequently, his designs, whether for graphics productions or buildings, were often unfiltered political messages. Despite being comprised of rudimentary shapes and colors, a poster by Lissitzky could make a strong statement for political change and a building could evoke ideas of commonality and egalitarianism.
He declared that the Proun series existed at "the station where one changes from painting to architecture." The paintings, which combined basic forms grouped together and featuring shifting axes, attempted to provide multiple perspectives of spatial amalgams despite their two-dimensional nature. Lissitzky reasoned that the future of the arts lay in their potential to be integrated. The fusion of drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, for instance, could be realized with his Prouns. These works may be considered fundamental to the development of modern abstract imagery, and a great influence on acutely industrial modern architecture.
Lissitzky's influence in the world of graphic design cannot be overstated. He utilized a pared-down palette of primary colors, black and white, text, and basic forms - shapes both real as well as invented geometric constructions - to tell stories, including traditional Jewish tales, and to make very powerful political statements.
The architecture was Lissitzky's most favored form of artistic expression, yet he had little success realizing his designs, which often bordered on the utopian and impossible. Dreaming of a non-hierarchical architecture unlike that of the emergent skyscraper culture of the capitalist West, Lissitzky's designs for "horizontal skyscrapers" remained forever in the realm of the imagined yet unrealized. For Lissitzky, the egalitarian ideal of Communism demanded such structures. They could serve as material evidence of the realization of such ideals.
El Lissitzky Photo
El Lissitzky was born Eleazar Markovich Lisitskii, in the town of Pochinok, a small, heavily Jewish-populated community in the western region of the former Russian Empire. Lissitzky spent much of his childhood in the town of Vitebsk (also Marc Chagall's hometown), followed by a ten-year stay with his grandparents in Smolensk, near the present-day Belarusian border, where he spent his secondary school years. A prodigious draughtsman even at age thirteen, Lissitzky was noticed by the local Jewish artist Yehuda Pen, who took the boy under his wing. Pen had founded School of Drawing and Painting in Vitebsk and taught many celebrated artists, including Chagall.
Suprematism (Russian: Супремати́зм)
Is an art movement, focused on basic geometric forms, such as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles, painted in a limited range of colors.
Suprematism, the invention of Russian artist Kazimir Malevich, was one of the earliest and most radical developments in abstract art. Its name derived from Malevich's belief that Suprematist art would be superior to all the art of the past, and that it would lead to the "supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts." Heavily influenced by avant-garde poets, and an emerging movement in literary criticism, Malevich derived his interest in flouting the rules of language, in defying reason.
He believed that there were only delicate links between words or signs and the objects they denote, and from this, he saw the possibilities for totally abstract art. And just as the poets and literary critics were interested in what constituted literature, Malevich came to be intrigued by the search for art's barest essentials. It was a radical and experimental project that at times came close to a strange mysticism. Although the Communist authorities later attacked the movement, its influence was pervasive in Russia in the early 1920s, and it was important in shaping Constructivism, just as it has been in inspiring abstract art to this day.
The Suprematists' interest in abstraction was fired by a search for the 'zero degrees' of painting, the point beyond which the medium could not go without ceasing to be art. This encouraged the use of very simple motifs since they best articulated the shape and flat surface of the canvases on which they were painted. (Ultimately, the square, circle, and cross became the group's favorite motifs.) It also encouraged many Suprematists to emphasize the surface texture of the paint on canvas, this texture being another essential quality of the medium of painting.
Though much Suprematist art can seem highly austere and serious, there was a strong tone of absurdism running through the movement. One of Malevich's initial inspirations for the movement was zaum, or transrational poetry, of some of his contemporaries, something that led him to the idea of zaum painting.
The Russian Formalists, an important and highly influential group of literary critics, who were Malevich's contemporaries, were opposed to the idea that language is a simple, transparent vehicle for communication. They pointed out that words weren't so easily linked to the objects they denoted. This fostered the idea that art could serve to make the world fresh and strange, art could make us look at the world in new ways. Suprematist abstract painting was aimed at doing much the same, by removing the real world entirely and leaving the viewer to contemplate what kind of picture of the world is offered by, for instance, a Black Square (c. 1915).
Suprematism was an art movement founded in Russia during the First World War. The first hints of it emerged in background and costume sketches that Kazimir Malevich designed in 1913 for Victory Over the Sun, a Futurist opera performed in St. Petersburg. While the drawings still have a clear relationship to Cubo-Futurism (a Russian art movement in which Malevich was prominently involved), the simple shapes that provide a visual foundation for Suprematism appear repeatedly. Rich color is also discarded in favor of black and white, which Malevich later used as a metaphor for creation in his writings. Of particular importance is the Black Square (c. 1915), which became the centerpiece of his new movement.
Concepts, Styles, and Trends
Kazimir Malevich surrounded by his works at an exhibition
Suprematist painting abandoned realism, which Malevich considered a distraction from the transcendental experience that the art was meant to evoke. Suprematism can be seen as the logical conclusion of Futurism's interest in movement and Cubism's reduced forms and multiple perspectives. The square, which Malevich called "the face of new art," represented the birth of his new movement, becoming a figurehead to which critics and other artists rallied in support of the new style. But many others accused it of nihilism: the artist and critic Alexandre Benois attacked it as a "sermon of nothingness and destruction."
Malevich published a manifesto to coincide with the 1915 exhibition, called From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism in Art. He claimed to have passed beyond the boundaries of reality into a new awareness. With this, the motifs in his paintings narrowed to include only the circle, square and rectangle. Critics have sometimes interpreted these motifs as references to mystical ideas, and some of Malevich's more florid pronouncements seem to offer support for this: of his use of the circle, he said, "I have destroyed the ring of the horizon and escaped from the circle of things"; and he talked of the Black Square as "a living, royal infant." But, in fact, Malevich scorned symbolism: for him, the motifs were only building blocks, the most fundamental elements in painting, or, as he put it, "the zero of form."
Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky both have a black square on the sleeves of their jackets, displaying their union in the UNOVIS group (early 1920s), a collective that practiced the principles of Malevich's Suprematism
Malevich divided the progression of Suprematism into three stages: "black," "colored," and "white." The black phase marked the beginnings of the movement, and the 'zero degrees' of painting, as exemplified by Black Square. The colored stage, sometimes referred to as Dynamic Suprematism, focused on the use of color and shape to create the sensation of movement in space. This was pursued in depth by Ilya Chasnik, El Lissitzky, and Alexander Rodchenko; El Lissitzky was particularly influenced by Malevich and developed his own personal style of Suprematism, which he called 'Proun'. The culmination of Suprematism can be seen in the white stage, exhibited by Malevich during the Tenth State Exhibition: Non-objective Creation and Suprematism in 1919. His masterpiece, White on White (1918), dispensed with form entirely, representing only "the idea." This work provoked responses from other artists that led to new ventures, such as Alexander Rodchenko's Constructivist exploration of the roles of specific materials in his Black on Black series (1919).
As time went on, the movement's spiritual undertones increasingly defined it, and although these put it in jeopardy following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the tolerant attitude of the early Communists ensured that its influence continued. By the late 1920s, however, attitudes had changed, and the movement lost much of its popularity at home, especially after being condemned by the Stalinists (Socialist Realism became the only allowed style). Between 1919 and 1927, Malevich stopped painting altogether to devote himself to his theoretical writings, and following a long hiatus, he even returned to representational painting.
Although Malevich's esoteric concepts prevented the movement itself from gaining widespread appeal, their implications have been far-reaching in the realm of abstract art. Indeed, his desire to create a transcendental art, one that can help viewers reach a higher understanding, is an aspiration one can trace in much later abstract art. It is present in the ideas Wassily Kandinsky outlines in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912), as well as the Theosophy-inspired geometric abstraction of Piet Mondrian.
The introduction of Suprematism to the West during a 1927 Berlin exhibition was well-received, sparking interest throughout Europe and the United States. Alfred Barr later brought several of Malevich's Suprematist works to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where they were included in Cubism and Abstract Art (1936), a groundbreaking exhibition that greatly influenced American modernism. Lissitzky played a key role in the promotion of Suprematism outside of Russia, having previously exhibited Proun works that left a deep impression on László Moholy-Nagy, and possibly even Kandinsky. El Lissitzky later used Suprematist forms and concepts to great effect in graphic design and architecture, which helped to shape the Constructionist movement. Today, these echoes are still seen in contemporary architecture, most famously in the recent "Suprematist" work of Zaha Hadid.