Constructionism is Soviet avant-garde direction in art, architecture, photography, fashion in the 20s of XX century. Photographer Vladimir Glynin made his project “Reconstructionism”(2011), appealing to known symbolic style. Prefix “re-“, as known from Russian grammar, means “repeatable, renewable, reproducible action”or “action contrary to action which is expressed by the main part of the word”.

There is no point in “counteracting”to constructionism. It is our great-acknowledged heritage. Reproduction remains, postmodern trick again, quite refined, by the way. Certainly, avant-garde as well as icon painting have become “export”art by now. Working with this kind of exemplary graphical model is always tempting, but not all succeed. Kazemir Malevich succeeded; to a large extent he interpreted icon-painting technique. By the way, Glynin confirms that Malevich is his idol. Series “Reconstructionism”succeeded.

The first topic is dance. “Seagull”is the ballet of 2002, with John Noymayer choreography, who adapted famous Chekhovian play for ballet. “Seagull’s soul”is “constructionist”dance in costumes, which remind “work clothes”of L. Popova, A. Rodchenko, V. Stepanova. Glynin took costumes for his project from this staging. Futurism, Supermatism, Cubism and other innovatory directions of 1910s had great impact on constructionism formation. However, “manufacturing art”with its direct appeal to modern Soviet realias of first five-year plans turned up to be its social induced base. Usage of “Russian red”as dominant, “beautiful”and “revolutionary”has become a sign of modernistic aesthetics. Treplev’s staging will probably remind experienced audience about Soviet kinetic art and group movement which appeared in 60s. To a large extent kinetic art restored constructionists’initiative, Malevich’s suprematism.

Dance is always connected to movement, but it’s not an axiom for Glynin. “Movement”topic is also connected to plasticity search in photography of 1920s. Members of photo-cabinet, founded by Art Science State Academy, Yuri Eremin, Nikolay Svicshov-Paola, Alexey Sidorov, Alexander Grinberg have launched big project –“The art of movement”. Four same-name exhibitions became result of their long-term work. Then photographer tried to investigate plastic art and dance canons through camera’s lens, to reveal dynamics, to create movement image on two-dimensional plane of snapshot. Glynin’s “Swan lake”, “Ballet-dancer”and “Ballet”are photo cycles concerning classic ballet, where is a place for dynamics. Dancers from “Reconstructionism”are static, “redynamic”, in negative meaning of the prefix. Figures look like ornamental patterns. They seem to be frozen in their elaborate dresses, contrary to swift-flowing time. Interlacement of bodies, structuring plastic compositions, is intricate, but not always logical. Volumes are scarcely perceptible, images remind drawing, decoration or even poster, that’s style is barren and concrete. Practically photographer has mortified flesh, has made bodies weightless, non-erotic, almost lifeless. Whitish body on white paper was shown for the first time on Polaroid photos of Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi (1980). But this technique is not so important for Glynin.

Aesthete and experimentalist Vladimir Glynin did the journey from sophisticated “picturesque”images of ballet-dancers to sharp and dynamic, almost constructivist photographic series. Mastering virtuoso of different techniques in printing, which approach photography to graphic technique, he concludes that art photography may be expressive by becoming ornamental. His refined rhythmical contrast constructions are far from Soviet constructivist realias, which require straightforward demonstrativeness, aimed at education, agitation, learning or, on the contrary, using pointed perspective, preferring special “epochal”dynamics. Glynin’s frontal compositions gravitate toward plain graphic structure, rich with rhythmical repeats, sometimes with unexpected collision of bright with soft harmony of paints, tones and lines.

Reconstruction as way of author’s expression has become habitual in modern art space, all the more in photography, as photography reconstructs memory. “Reconstructionism”has reconstructed great heritage. Double negation always equals to confirmation. Consequently, the search is not useless!

© Olga Averyanova,

Chief of Photography department
Pushkin Museum of Fine Art


Click on any picture below to look at the project. Full screen mode is recommended.

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