Russian Constructivism

This spring Ozone is excited to announce a new line of socks inspired by Russian Constructivism. Constructivism was an art movement in the early 20th century that marked a shift for art to be more abstract and geometric aimed to reflect Russia's newly industrialized society. Read below to learn more about the Russian Constructivism Movement.

In 1917, during the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks led by Lenin took over Russia at the same time the art world of Russia went through its own revolution. Taking a turn towards constructing rather than painting, the Russian Constructivist movement swept the Russian art scene. Founded by Ukrainian artist Vladimir Tatlin, it was focused on representing Russia's newly industrialized society.

Tatlin was a Russian-born Ukrainian who came from a noble family. His father was a mechanical engineer and his mother was a poet. Tatlin studied at Kharkov Arts School for a time but had to leave due to his father's passing in 1904. This forced Tatlin to support himself, and he did so by becoming a merchant sea cadet. He traveled from Egypt to the black sea and was said to have gained inspiration from his travels. After returning in 1905 Tatlin enrolled at Seliverstov Penza Art School. He successfully finished his education and moved to Moscow in 1910, where he started his career.

Tatlin took an impromptu trip to Paris to meet Pablo Picasso in 1913. It was there Tatlin was influenced by futurism and cubism, by Picasso's collages and sculptures. Tatlin's return marked the start of the Russian Constructivism movement. He began working on his new vision with fellow artist Alexander Rodchenko in 1915, but this new style of art didn't take over Russia until it was the adopted style of propaganda for the Soviets. With the entire population being subjected to this style, it poured into other art mediums like architecture, graphic design, film, and theater.

[left to right] Pablo Picasso, Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle (1914); Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin (1901)

The Constructivism movement turned artists into engineers. A key work of Constructivism was Tatlin's proposal for the Monument to the Third International (Tatlin's Tower). Also known as Comintern, the Third International was an organization founded in 1919 that advocated for worldwide communism. His sculpture was met with heavy criticism and was never constructed, but continues to be a staple of Constructivist art representing the values of materials, volume, revolution, and construction.

Constructivism was a different style of art, it moved away from decorative art and used geometric patterns mixed with strict lines while relying on the assembly of industrial products like wood and metal. The Soviets needed an art form that wouldn't inspire rebellion and would reflect the toughness of Russia. Due to many constructivists already being a part of the communist party, it was only a matter of time before it took off as the Communist main propaganda style of art. Constructivism poured into England in the 1930/40s from sculptor Naum Gabo and it influenced the Bauhaus(1919) and De Stijl(1917) movements. 

Check out Ozone’s new line to give respect to Russian Constructivism and further its influence on socks.