The great Russian artist Varvara Fedorovna Stepanova (1894-1958) delved into to a wide range of artistic trends from Social realism to Symbolism. However, she is mostly known for exploring and furthering Constructivism.
Constructivism replaced traditional
Constuctivist lead-playing artist Stepanova expressed her wide range of talents in all of these
Stepanova carried out her ideal of engaging with industrial production and designed comfortable clothing for ease of movement of workers. She used striking fabrics in geometric patterns that suited the industrial printing methods. Her modernist practicality combined with sophistication made her popular in Paris in the mid ’20s.
Even though from peasant origin, Varvara went to the Kazan School of
Together Stepanova and Rodchenko became an important part of the Russian
The couple was involved with many influential artists of that time. Before the Russian Revolution, around 1917, they shared an apartment with Wassily Kadinsky in Moscow, and were introduced to many other famous Russian artists.
In the earlier parts of her career, Varvara loved Futurist poetry. She autonomously developed what came to be known as ‘non-objective visual poetry’. An example of ‘non-objective visual poetry’ is featured at MoMA. It is called ‘Gaust chaba’, 1919. * This is watercolor manuscript text on found newspaper leaves.
Stepanova designed Cubo-Futurist artwork for use in artists’ books. This kind of artwork combines the Cubist use of forms. At the same time, it adopts the Futurists’ passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions, and a love for action and technology. She participated in world-famous
Many of her works feature figures who she displays as robotic, efficient and dynamic, i.e. new socialist human beings. In one of her most famous works ‘The Billiard Players’ Stepanova depicts mechanical action and emotional states simultaneously.
Even more than her husband’s work, Stepanova’s work in the 1920s epitomized the Russian Avant-Garde. Her constructivism flourished through the mid 1930s. From 1920 to 1925, Varvara taught at the Krupskaia Academy of Social Education.
* direct links to these artwork samples can be found at http://www.eArtfair.com
copyright A. Lee, 2008 – all rights reserved.
Source by A. Lee