Russian Constructivism was the reaction against the bourgeois and Czar monarchy. Considered one of the last art movements in Russia, it was able to develop during the 1917 revolution headed by the Bolsheviks. The art forms influences came from Cubism, Suprematism, and Futurism but it hoped to create an even more avant-garde movement. Art was no longer for art sake but instead produced to serve and be used by the community. Constructivism consisted of print art, products, and sculpture using uniform styles of creation and esthetics. Ironically, the Bolsheviks whose influence made the movement possible, was its undoing when the party became intolerant of avant-grade art forms.
The elements that make Russian Constructivism recognizable are:
~minimal, abstracted, geometric shapes
~imitated photography or actual photography within a collage
~typefaces used for literal meaning and aesthetic properties in construction
~ Looks constructed rather than created
~flat colors with open spaces
RUSSIAN CONSTRUCTIVISM AND THE FILM POSTER
Early on, Russian Revolutionaries recognized film as an exceptional tool for propaganda that was easily accessible to the masses. The film posters were an extension of this propaganda. Stenberg Brothers, Georgy and Vladimir, were the lead artist in the production of the Russian Film poster. Early in the Bolsheviks movement they had embraced Constructivism creating works that encompassed the esthetic and vernacular needed to push the message without ever having seen the movie. Posters featured elements used in film such as extreme closeup and photo collages in black and white mimicking the film stock. They layered colors and type that conveyed the spirit of the film. The posters, in and of themselves, became definitive works of art.
THE WIRE POSTER PROJECT
The Wire Poster Project is a series of 60 posters representing the epigraphs from the opening of all the episodes of HBO’s The Wire. Within the show these epigraphs were also a line of dialogue delivered by one of the characters. The posters, designed by Oliver Munday, are a amalgam of styles which include Russian Constructivism, Atomic Age, and Globe Poster.
The blending of these styles create an all new way to extend the enjoyment of the show for the fans and viewers. But it also provided a new vernacular to those who might not had viewed or been curious about the show before seeing it oriented in this way.
Munday choosing the Globe style, which is familiar to the average Baltimorean, also pays homage to the city as the largest character of the show. This Globe style creates a base for the words to attract attention, which was the main goal of the Globe Posters. The elements of the Globe style were bold colors with bold black type advertising a lowbrow entertainment such as rock-n-roll concerts, circuses, and carnivals. These poster communicated that someone was coming to town. The bold letters spelled out who and if the act was someone you wanted to see you would take the time to find out where and when. If not, none of the busy city dwellers time was wasted because all this information could be delivered in a glance.
Acknowledging work was also a topic brought up during the D Center talk. Attribution is the catalyst for fair practice in art, amongst artist, and into the realm of advertising. Joe Galbreath went over “Putting the Outdoor Poster into Context” as well as defining and recognizing where inspiration comes from. Simple communication, like the simple message of the Globe Poster, keep styles available to be researched so they can be studied and recreated for lasting enjoyment by the masses.
“Russian Constructivism,” The Art History Archive, accessed February 9, 2014,http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/constructivism/
“Russian Constructivism (1916-1924),” California State University Northridge, accessed February 9,2014,http://www.csun.edu/~pjd77408/DrD/Art461/LecturesAll/Lectures/lecture07/Constructivism.html
“Constructivism,” Design Is History, accessed February 9,2014,http://www.designishistory.com/1920/constructivism/
“Kino/Film: Soviet Posters of The Silent Screen,” Gallery For Russian Arts and Design, accessed February 11, 2014,http://www.grad-london.com/whatson/kino-film-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen/
Kristin Hohenadel,.”The Wire Poster Project,” Slate’s Design Blog, November 7,2013 (9:15 AM),http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2013/11/07/the_wire_poster_project_a_graphic_designer_s_homage_to_the_critically_acclaimed.html
Frank Zappa Globe Poster,”Mica to Acquire Historic Globe Poster Collection,”MICA Communications, posted March 11, 2011. accessed February 10, 2014, http://www.mica.edu/News/MICA_to_Purchase_Historic_Globe_Poster_Collection.html
“Globe Poster Archive,” Contemporary Wing, accessed February 10, 2014, http://contemporarywing.com/artists/globe-poster-archive