Ukraine: Tatlin’s Constructivist Tower

Soviet Constructivism was on the avant-garde of the Bolshevik Revolution that burst upon Russia in 1917. At the heart of this movement, was the question of the imbrication of art as a part of proletariat life. Constructivism eschewed the elitist concerns of the academy and the museum, in order to embrace the technologies and the process of the Industry.

In 1920 Vladimir Tatlin presented the exemplary Constructivist work, A Monument to the Third International, or, as it is best known today, Tatlin’s Tower. This hybrid of art, architecture and communication design, was meant to be used as a propaganda platform that would drive the spread of the Communist revolution across the world. Although it was never built, this design had a profound impact on the revolutionary art of the Soviet Union and on the international modern art that followed.

Although Vladimir Tatlin was born in Moscow, he grew up in Kharkiv. He studied art at the Kharkov Arts School and then become a merchant sea cadet at Odessa.  Having established himself as a leader of the Moscow avant-garde, Tatlin moved to Kyiv in 1925, to become chair of the theater, film, and photography department of the Kyiv State Art Institute. During this time he established connections with Mykhailo Semenko and the Nova Generatsiia futurist group in Kharkiv.