1 December 2011
Advertisement for Cookies from the Red October Factory, signed.
Gouache and collage on paper, 83 by 58.5 cm.
Executed in 1923.
Provenance: Private collection, Switzerland.
Authenticity certificate from the expert T. Goriacheva.
Exhibited: Aleksandr Rodchenko, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, 1998; Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, 1998-1999; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1999.
Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism, Tate Modern, London, 12 February-17 May 2009; State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, June-September 2009; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, October 2009-January 2010.
Literature: Exhibition catalogue, Aleksandr Rodchenko, New York, MoMA, 1998, p. 196, No. 106, illustrated.
C. Kiaer, Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism, Cambridge, The MIT Press, 2005, illustrated on the cover and pl. 16.
Exhibition catalogue, Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism, London, Tate Publishing, 2009, p. 105, No. 142, illustrated.
Alexander Rodchenko is best known as one of the fathers of Constructivism. He and his wife and comrade in arms, Varvara Stepanova, were also pioneers of Soviet photography and social design and revolutionised the world of advertising.
This design for a Red October factory poster was created in 1923 for Mosselprom and belongs to the most interesting period of Rochenko’s oeuvre. That same year Mayakovsky had chosen him as fellow artist and collaborator on Soviet advertising posters. Establishing an instant rapport they went on to shake up every tradition of the genre, placing paramount importance on clarity of purpose and design. “We completely conquered Moscow… transforming the old tsarist-bourgeois Western style of advertising into a new ‘Soviet style’”, wrote Rodchenko of their collaboration.
This Red October factory poster was reproduced on bill-boards all over Moscow in 1923-1924 and Mayakovsky’s slogan at the bottom, “Nowhere except Mosselprom”, became a catchphrase. Using elements of text as well as images and abstract symbols as part of the composition, Rodchenko created a unique style to promote the company’s image. One of the key characteristics of Rodchenko’s Constructivist advertising style was the documentary element to his posters and his use of photographic images.
In one two-year period Rodchenko and Mayakovsky produced more than 100 poster designs, and it was for these posters that Rodchenko received a silver medal at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925.
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