Alexander Rodchenko

Dates1891 - 1956
RolesPhotographer, Printmaker, Author
BornSt. Petersburg, Russia

Alexander Rodchenko was a revolutionary artist, both politically and aesthetically. As a decorator, furniture and theater designer, printer, painter, sculptor, and photographer, he worked with a wide variety of media. He was also an art theorist and educator and began teaching at the VKhUTEMAS(Higher State Art-Technical Studios) in Moscow in 1920. Best known as a Russian Constructivist artist, in 1921 he co-wrote the Constructivists' manifesto. Among other things, it advocated the use of machine-made materials such as wire, glass, and sheet metal in the creation of socially useful art for a society in the midst of revolution.

Inspired by his work in illustration and commercial designs, Rodchenko turned to photography in 1924. He wanted to incorporate his own imagery into the photomontages that he had begun working on the previous year. From that point on, photomontage became one of his favored techniques. An ardent experimenter, Rodchenko regarded the camera as a highly flexible drawing instrument. His use of foreshortening and non-vertical camera angles became trademark techniques, and he advised aspiring photographers to "take several different photographs of an object, from different places and positions as though looking it over."