Monday, October 26, 2009

Technology and Modernism: DE Stijl, Constructivism

De Stijl

De Stijl means the style for Dutch and also, the name of a journal that was published by Dutch painter, designer, writer, and Theo van Doesburg in Holland.

During the World War I, Netherland was remained natural, so Dutch artists were not able to leave the country thus the art was separated from the world.

Dutch designers used Frank Lloyd Wright's design, that was flat roof and overhanging eaves, in their own architecture. Also, they extend the principle in many different parts such as painting, sculpture, typography, furniture, interior ensembles, and architecture.

For Van Doesburg, interior space and architecture were considered as a sort of walk-in painting. Mondrian had similar ideas but more emphasis on harmony and balance. He used asymmetrical formal balance by using only straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangular forms. He introduced the new conception of art as Neoplasticism or the “New Plastic” which means the general principle of plastic equivalency. In 1920, Mondrian and Van Doesburg designed a new cover for De Stijl. This new cover was provided Neoplastic idea. Mondrian also believed that art and life should be together that means art should not be separated from living.file:///Users/eunyoungan/Desktop/images.jpeg

Especially, for Van Doesburg, color was important. He used color for better understanding abstract arts of work. In his work, the color helps to reinforced integration, unity and balance. Van Doesburg designed the patterns for colored brick tiles in a Duch building and window composed of colored squares for another building.

Probably, Schröder House in Utrecht is the best known architecture for De Stijl project. This house has been built completely according to De Stijl principle. Especially, in the interior space, this building was created a “living” of work of non-objective art.file:///Users/eunyoungan/Desktop/180px-RietveldSchroederhuis.jpg


Constructivism was created in Russia around 1925. It started for Soviet Workers Club. The artist and designer Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) designed the reading room and furniture. This Soviet furniture was built in a workshop setting rather than commercially manufactured. These forms were standardized and used for collective values for the Communist society.

Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935) is the most representative artist for abstract non-object style of art. He used the term Suprematism and noted the similarity between the geometric rectangular form and the form of modern technology. Malevich helped the Suprematist through the school (UNOVIS). This school was not only recognition of the non-objective art but also, purpose of propaganda.file:///Users/eunyoungan/Desktop/images-1.jpeg

El Lissitsky (1890-1941) worked with Malevich at UNOVIS, he used the abstract art as a means to a political end. In 1922 El Lissitsky published as international journal of the new art “ object”. This journal had articles and photographs about fine art, decorative art, and industrial products.

Rodchenko was one of the artists who directly addressed collecitve social needs through his work. His works were shown through the organization INKHUK(The Institude of Artistic Culture). The concept of the “artist-constructor” was applied to his design. During the early 1920s, there was a change. The young Constructivists had turned to realism. The Constructivists hope that further developed the contribution of the “artists-constructor” in Russia. RodchenKo’s posters were very influenced in that period.

What do you think about the De stijl and Constructivism? These two movements were related and very influenced to the society. Do you think arts should be affect to the society, or not? What do you think the beauty from the abstract of object like De stijl principles?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Technology and Modernism: Bauhaus

The Nineteenth-Century was a whirlwind era of advancement in technology and the development of industrial design. A demand for individuals who could combine artistic with technological skills (Sparke, 158) arose when British manufacturers desired “appropriately trained” workers. The idea of the craftsman and the artist as separate individuals was not part of the forward thinking concept of modernism. The solution to this issue was conceived in the form of the Staatliche Bauhaus, a new educational program that attempted to establish a relation between the emerging modernism of the fine arts and a broad range of design and craft fields (Pile, 320).

German architect and designer, Walter Gropius, headed the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, which began with the combining of the Academy of Fine Art and the School of Applied Arts. Staff members of the Bauhaus included some of the most influential expressionist painters of the time – Lional Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Oscar Schlemmer – who, although sometimes collaborated teachings, specialized in specific areas of study.

The institution’s guild-inspired system allowed for exploration of art and design, but also called for some concentrated learning as well. The Bauhaus’ goal was to bring together all creative effort into one whole, to reunify all the disciplines of practical art – sculpture, painting, handicrafts, and the crafts – as inseparable components of a new architecture (Gorman, 98). This new architecture was idealized in the design and construction of the Bauhaus’ second location in the city of Dessau (the Bauhaus was forced to move in 1925 due to economic and political problems). With Gropius designing the new buildings himself, he developed what was then classified as the ‘International Style’. The term reflects the fact that modernism was not marked by the strong national differences typical of earlier design (Pile, 330). The interior and exterior designs reflected each other, both expressing simplicity and functionality.

Unfortunately, the Bauhaus was force to close in 1933 under the direction of Mies van der Rohe, due to both financial pressures and the hostility toward all avant-garde ideas that marked the rising of the Nazi movement (Pile, 330). Although the school closed, many of its teachers and students took their knowledge and spread it to different areas throughout Europe, and many even traveled to the United States to pursue their idea of modern design and express it as desired.

The concept of the International Style was a huge movement for design and architecture. It signified the passing of specific national differences and the unification of them all. Do you think this movement was disadvantageous in the sense that various places of significant architectural styles lost their prominence? Or was it beneficial because of the integration of one style? Also, was the International Style successful as compared to previously developed styles (i.e. Victorian design, Eclecticism, etc.)? Are the principles behind the International Style something we still see in today’s design field?

(Villa Savoye - International Style Example - Google Images)

This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.