Note on Russian Constructivism

Photo by Carmela Gross


Nikolai Tarabukin and the artistic debate in revolutionary Russia

Who was Nikolai Tarabukin (1889-1954)? Why take it as a source and privileged point of view on the artistic debate in revolutionary Russia?

Born in Moscow in 1889 and having studied philosophy, art history and philology at the University of Moscow, Nikolai Tarabukin was part of the original nucleus of Soviet revolutionary constructivism, becoming one of the most active and thought-provoking members of the movement as a debater, thinker of art and author of historiographical texts. From 1921 to 1924, he was academic secretary of INKhUK, the Institute of Artistic Culture, a state body that operated from 1920 to 1924, and whose debates and research – developed by the General Group of Objective Analysis, of which the author was a member – resulted directly in the constitution, in March 1921, of the first Constructivist Working Group.

Nikolai Tarabúkin also collaborated with OBMOKhU, the Society of Young Artists, an agitation group founded in 1919, born out of the Free Ateliers that followed the dissolution of the art schools and academies of the ancien régime tsarist. The OBMOKhU held two exhibitions, in 1919 and 1920, which mainly featured posters and similar agitation and propaganda projects aimed at mobilizing against whites during the civil war. The third OBMOKhU show, between May and June 1921, featured constructions, becoming a historical landmark of the constructivist movement.

This third exhibition included several works by Rodchenko (1891-1956) consisting of spatial constructions suspended by wires and which carried forward the proposal of the corner relief ou Angular, by Tátlin (1885-1953), made in 1914-15, after returning from Paris, where he had seen constructions and collages by Braque (1882-1963) and Picasso (1881-1973).

Finally, it was from the activities of these two research and debate centers, INKhUK and OBMOKhU, as well as similar institutions, such as VKhUTEMAS (Technical-Artistic Advanced Workshops) – which functioned as a school of architecture and design –, and also of debates spread in several publications, among which the magazine The F (Journal of the Left Front in the Arts),[I] which the constructivist platform was engendered. Soon after, within a few months, the transition to productivism in the last quarter of 1921 emerged from these same nuclei, a transition that proposed a new step as a critical and materialist radicalization of constructivism.

Nikolai Tarabukin, a first-time constructivist, was also one of the authors of the movement to criticize and deepen constructivism. Thus, he is situated among other theorists and productivist writers with a similar trajectory, such as Óssip Brik, Boris Arvátov, Boris Kuchner and Aleksei Gan (1889-1940). Thus, the following comments on Tarabukin's positions should not be understood as referring to a supposedly unique or singular author, but as elements of a collective and public debate.

Likewise, it is necessary to bear in mind that constructivism constituted, in addition to a collective act, also an intrinsically interdisciplinary movement, since many of the group did not limit themselves to painting or writing, their initial activities, but also worked in other fields, such as the arts. graphics, architecture, cinema, etc.

Among the group's writings, the specific relevance of Tarabúkin's works – From Easel to Machine e For a Theory of Painting, published in Russia in 1923 – is inseparable, in the West, from the fact that some of his essays, translated into French,[ii] English and Spanish served as the main vehicle for systematically introducing the arguments of revolutionary constructivism and thus contributed to effectively distinguishing it from other artistic currents. Even today, in fact, Tarabukin's writings constitute a decisive point of view for the critical re-reading of certain artistic works of constructivism – for example, by Maliêvitch (1878-1935), Tátlin, Rodchenko, Eisenstein (1898-1948), Vertov ( 1896-1954) –, which were integrated into the collections of the great capitalist museums, and thus spread in the West, however, almost always, in an entirely decontextualized way, giving rise to varied historiographical absurdities, still current.[iii]


Nonsense, dissent, transition

As for the designation of the constructivist movement, and its distinct correlate, productivism, it should be noted that the latter, although it corresponds to the second phase of constructivism, is not currently used in Western terminology. Indeed, the designation constructivism is more widespread, including for productivism. It is then customary to speak, sometimes, of utilitarian constructivism – as if such a designation, evoking a supplementary predicate, corresponded to a minority or secondary fraction, which is exactly a historical contradiction. In short, in the West, countless nonsense have spread around the constructivist term. For the sake of truth and rigor, it is necessary to clear up such mistakes and overlaps before making any consideration about the Soviet revolutionary artistic movement, that is, about original constructivism as such.[iv]

Consequently, when the term constructivism is mentioned in Western countries, it is commonly understood as a synonym for artistic styles guided by abstraction and geometrization. In this way, constructivism is commonly confused with western substitutes of the same name: certain elements of the German Bauhaus, Dutch neo-plasticism, the French group Abstraction-Creation (Paris, 1931), the manifesto Circle (London, 1937) and the school of design from Ulm, Germany (College of Design, 1953). It is true that the development of these movements was based on echoes of original constructivism, according to varying degrees of derivation, but, strictly speaking, they have little to do with the principles and objectives of revolutionary Soviet constructivism.[v]

This historical confusion is partly due to the concealment (given Stalinist repression) of this movement in the USSR itself and partly to the personal interest of some emigrant artists who, erasing the traces of origin, presented themselves in Western countries as authentic constructivists, while, in reality, they were only opponents of the main trend of constructivism, which radicalized its original links with the left currents of the revolutionary process, by heading towards productivism. Such dissidents, including the brothers Naum Gabo (1890-1977) and Antoine Pevsner (1866-1962), retreated in the face of the advances of the revolution in 1921 and 1922, therefore, it is worth noting, in a period prior to Stalinism.

It is these artists in exile, by choice, who diverged from constructivism – and without forgetting others, such as Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) and Marc Chagall (1887-1985) who never proclaimed themselves constructivists, but who, being Russian emigrants and having frequented western artistic circles at the time, they did not work to undo the confusion – which all contributed, in various ways, to the establishment of a counterfeit of the movement, compatible with capitalism. In that imbroglio, one should also not forget the role of the Cold War, which supported this operation of erasing the origins and guidelines of constructivism, promoted by Stalinism.[vi]


October fruit

The original constructivism, like the Proletkult (see below) – to which several of its members were linked – was an offshoot of the October Revolution. Therefore, before entering properly into Tarabukin's thought – which developed, with regard to his book From Easel to Machine (1922-1923), around the controversies between productivism and constructivism – it is necessary to delimit the terrain in which such controversy took place. That is to say, it is important to start by summarizing the historical profile of constructivism, outlining its historical significance in relation to preceding art and quickly traversing the path from its sources to the emergence of productivism, which led to the decisive split.

Three aspects stood out as characteristic positions of the original constructivism: first, the direct and immediate connection with the revolutionary movement of October 1917, fundamental for the constructivist intention of changing not only the arts, but the social fabric as a whole; second, internationalism or opposition to Slavophilia and other nationalist cultural movements, whose weight profoundly and notoriously shaped the cultural tradition of Russia and the regions dominated by it; third, the strong interaction between theory and practice and the related interdisciplinary ambition that moved constructivism to invest, starting with painting, in different fields of language: sculpture-construction, advertising-agitation, graphic arts, architecture, the design, photomontage, cinema, etc.

The interdisciplinary vocation led a significant number of constructivists to combine radical aesthetic rigor and non-specialization, leading each one to act on multiple fronts: in teaching, in creative practice and in the various spheres of language mentioned. Thus, for example, the poet Mayakovsky also worked in the theater, cinema and graphic arts, carrying out, in addition to editing books, the visual elaboration of posters.


New practical-theoretical regime

The strong interplay between theory and practice calls for lengthy consideration; it is indispensable to the understanding of constructivism and cannot be forgotten. In order to appreciate the historical significance of the new kind of association between theory and practice that was promoted by constructivism, it is convenient to propose a comparative historical confrontation, since the movement explicitly placed itself as a corollary of the historical process of critical deconstruction of painting and as an initial landmark of a new process.

In other words, due to the complex and fundamental interaction between theory and practice, constructivism distinguished itself from practically all previous artistic movements, as well as from supposed substitutes or derivatives. In this sense, it was characterized as a historically unique movement, which should be considered not only based on its artistic achievements, but also according to its critical-reflective project. This quality had other effects as well. It makes possible the proposition of a certain correlation, antithetical to the association between artists and humanist theorists that took place in Florence, in the XNUMXth century, when what would come to be qualified as the cornerstone of European painting was engendered: the Renaissance pictorial system.

O Treatise on Painting (1436), by Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72), can be seen as the first milestone of the artistic process that the constructivists qualified as “easel painting” and which they intended to put an end to. In this sense, it was with the aim of constituting an explicit polarization that Tarabukin presented the conference “The Last Picture Was Painted” in 1921 and wrote, in the following year, the work From Easel to Machine. The challenge thus launched did not derive, it should be noted, from an author's idiosyncrasy. Tarabukin was just one of many constructivists to point out the “death of painting".

With regard to this sentence, it should be specified that, firstly, when alluding to the “death of painting”, Nikolai Tarabukin and others were not referring to the empirical disappearance of paintings and authors, nor to the demand that was related to it, but rather to the loss of historical and symbolic importance of painting. The constructivist thesis was that painting, after having functioned for centuries as a principle and paradigm of other visual languages, at that time appeared devoid of such value. Why?

Taken as an emblem, the “death of painting” referred to the possible extinction of the regime of art as a special activity and based on craftsmanship, since, by means of the term “easel art”, Nikolai Tarabukin and others also understood all other arts. , literature, theater, music, etc. In these terms, the death of art implied a change of regime and, in the new situation, the dissolution of art in life, and, simultaneously, the concomitant elevation of its general quality to a value comparable to that of art, a central premise in the critical framework of the revolutionary debates about the new way of life.[vii]

Thus, in a manifesto of 1921, “the constructivists declared art and its priests outlawed”; or, as Malêvitch noted, “the painter is a prejudice of the past, painting has perished”. Similarly, the former painter Rodchenko stated: “Down with art, a means of escaping from a life devoid of meaning! (…) down with monasteries, institutions, studios, ateliers, work offices and islands”. [viii]

The crisis was bigger and the debate was international; both concerned the transformations brought about by industrialization. The death of art has become a common desideratum, beyond Russian borders. In the West, already, in a way, the Cubists and Futurists, and then the Dadaists and Surrealists, similarly called for the death of art, as an activity intrinsically distinct from the others. In the wake of October, however, the negativity and radicalization of the debate went far beyond the Western framework, delimited by capitalism.


Synthesis and overcoming of bourgeois art

What was at issue? It is useful, in order to understand this, to go back to the historical comparison between constructivism and the Quattrocento Italian. It should be recalled that Cavallini (active 1273-1308), Cimabue (ca. 1240-1302) and Giotto (ca. 1267-1337) updated, between the end of the Two hundred and the beginning of Three hundred, so-called fresco mural painting, in the light of the humanist style of Gothic sculpture, came to elaborate through borrowing the first factors of a new pictorial rationality, linked at that time to the culture of artisans and guilds and to the emergence of the individual's perspective. At the same time, the painting of altarpieces – taking a different path from the expansion of the oil technique – gained importance and autonomy in the face of architecture and provided another genre of paintings for the nascent bourgeois clientele.

After a period of strong social conflicts in Florence – including the uprising in the last quarter of the XNUMXth century of the Ciompi (wool workers, hitherto excluded from guilds) – and, subsequently, the oligarchic restoration (through the consolidation of the power of the Florentine financial system associated with the Vatican), Leon Battista Alberti and Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) formulated, at the beginning of Quattrocento, a new theory of art. His effort, supported by the Medici bank, articulated geometry, rhetoric and elements of Plotinian or Neoplatonic philosophy.[ix] By virtue of these terms, the pictorial practice ceased to be based exclusively on empirical bases, to be placed as a craft of a liberal nature. Thus was constituted the foundation of the pictorial and aesthetic system, of a bourgeois and metaphysical character, on which painting in western Europe was built for more than four centuries.

On the other hand, the constructivists clearly traced their origins back to critical experiences in the West, such as Manet (1832-83), Cézanne (1839-1906) and Cubism, which, linked to the radical republican opposition in France, deconstructed the foundations of renaissance system.[X] After 1917 and the triumph of the Red Army in the civil war against the whites, constructivism emerged, asserting itself as a corollary of the critical radicalization of western painting and at the same time as the synthesis of this process of modern art with the proletarian revolution. In this way, it presented itself as the beginning of a critical and new aesthetic system, assuming to bring together artistic practice and materialist aesthetic and political reflection in a new key, dialectically opposed to the previous one.

From constructivism, therefore, the systematics of a new field was projected: that of non-representative art and philosophically founded, not on representation or on the value earned from the circulation of goods, but on work.[xi]

*Luiz Renato Martins he is professor-advisor of PPG in Economic History (FFLCH-USP) and Visual Arts (ECA-USP). Author, among other books, of The Conspiracy of Modern Art (Haymarket/HMBS).

Extract from the first half of the original version (in Portuguese) of chap. 10, «La transition du constructivisme au productivisme, selon Taraboukine», from the book La Conspiration de l'Art Moderne et Other Essais, edition and introduction by François Albera, translation by Baptiste Grasset, Lausanne, Infolio (2023, prim. semester, proc. FAPESP 18/26469-9). I would like to thank Danilo Hora for revising and transliterating the Russian terms in this text.


[I] For more details on publication in its two phases, such as The F [Moscow, 1923-5, edit.: Boris Arvatov (1896-1940), Osip Brik (1888-1945), Boris Kuchner (1888-1937), Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930), Sergey Tretyakov (1892-1937) and Nikolai Chujak (1876-1937)] and how Novi Lef (Moscow, 1927-8, edit. V. Mayakovsky and S. Tretyakov) See study by Christina LODDER, Russian Constructivism, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1990, p. 323.

[ii] Nikolaï Taraboukine, Le Dernier Tableau. Du Chevalet à la Machine. Pour une Théorie de la Peinture. Écrits sur l'art et l'histoire de l'art à l'époque du constructivisme russe, present by AB Nakov, trans. du russe par Michel Pétris et Andrei B. Nakov, Paris, éditions Champ Libre, 1980, p. 19 [for another translation, see Gérard Conio (dir.), Le Constructivism Russe, drank, Le constructivisme dans les arts plastiques. Textes theoriques – manifests – documents, Cahiers des avant-gardes/ Lausanne, l'Âge d'Homme, 1987].

[iii] Like many constructivists and productivists, Tarabukin fell out of favor with the rise of Stalinism; not to the point of being arrested like Gan, Kuchner, Púnin (1888-1953) and so many others; but, in his specific case, the doors of publishing houses closed to him after 1928, the year in which his study on Bogayevsky (1872-1943) was criticized as “formalist”. In the same year, the State Academy of Artistic Sciences, the GAKhN, was closed, a research center within which Tarabukin, after his passage through the INKhUK, directed (from 1924 to 1928) a section, dealing with cinema, theater and , mainly, from the study of the works of Eisenstein and Meyerhold (1874-1940).

Tarabúkin lost, since then, all possibility of intervening in public debates, but pursued an academic career, charged with studying the work of Vrubel (1856-1910) and his followers, as responsible for courses at the film school (GTK), professor of space art history at the State Institute of Lunacharsky Theater Arts (GITIS), as well as at VGIK in 1930. In the 1940s, he taught art history at Lomonosov University and later at the Moscow Art Theater Literary M. Gorki and at the Research Institute of the Academy of Architecture of the USSR. After that date, there is only one reference to his work, in the book by Aleksei Lossev (1893-1988), Dialectic of Myth (Moscow, 1930). (By the way, Lôssev [1893-1988] was a Neoplatonic philosopher and philologist, author of exegetical studies on Plato. In this work, published with the author's resources, his approach to ancient mythology and symbolism, refusing dialectical materialism, earned him prison until 1932, after which he resumed an academic career). Other works by Tarabukin were published only posthumously, from 1973 onwards. One of his most important studies, Icon Philosophy (1916), was only published in 1999. His most important study, The Problem of Space in Painting (1927), was published in Vorossi Artznaniia, no. 1-4, 1993 and n.1., 1994. See A. NAKOV, “Notice Biographique” in N. Tarabukin, op. cit., and Maria GOUGH, “ Tarabúkin, Spengler, and the art of production”, October, no. 93, summer 2000, pp. 79-108. I am grateful to François Albera for the biographical data on Tarabukin and Lossev.

[iv] The history of disagreements around the diffusion of the term constructivism is inventoried by C. LODDER, on. cit., pp. 1-5. Furthermore, for an illuminating commentary on the ideological and interest conflicts involved around the spread of the designation in the West, see Benjamin HD BUCHLOH's essay, “Cold war constructivism”, in Serge GUILBAUT (ed.), Reconstructing Modernism/Art in New York, Paris and Montreal 1945-1964, Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press, 1991, pp. 85-112. See also François ALBERA, “Qu'est-ce que le constructivisme”, in idem, Eisenstein et le Constructivavisme Russe, Lausanne, L'Age d'Homme, 1990, pp. 118-43; repub.: Sesto San Giovanni, editions Mimésis, 2019, pp. 177-223 [transl. br.: “What is constructivism”, in François ALBERA, Eisenstein and Russian Constructivism, pref. by LR Martins, trans.: Eloisa Araújo Ribeiro, São Paulo, collection Cinema, Theater and Modernity, publisher Cosac & Naify, 2002, pp. 165-71]. For a peculiar, thought-provoking and detailed reading of the differences and relationships between constructivism and productivism, see Maria Zalambani, “Boris Arvátov, théoricien du productivisme”, Notebooks of the Russian world [online], 40/3 | 1999, pub. on 15.01.2007, consulted on 01.10.2016. URL:; DOI: 10.4000/monderusse.19

[v] Similarly, in Brazil, the term constructivism was later attributed to currents of geometric abstraction, originating in the 1950s. For an example of the accepted and current use of such meaning, see the work of Aracy AMARAL (coord. edit.), Constructive Art in Brazil/ Adolpho Leirner Collection, São Paulo, Melhoramentos/ DBA Artes Gráficas, 1998. But, strictly speaking, it should be noted that this name only dates from the 1977 retrospective show, also coordinated by Aracy Amaral (b. 1930), and that it was not adopted at the time of the movements concrete and neoconcrete, whose original manifestos date respectively from 1952 and 1959. See idem (supervision, general coordination and research), Brazilian Constructive Project in Art (1950-1962), catalog organized by the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro/S. Paulo, Museum of Modern Art/Pinacoteca do Estado, 1977. The probable source of the attribution in question to Brazilian geometric movements it was possibly the typewritten manuscript by Ronaldo Brito (b. 1949), an essay dated 1975, but which had already been widely read by that time (1977), although only published ten years later. See R. BRITO, Neoconcretism / Vertex and Rupture of the Brazilian Constructive Project, Rio de Janeiro, col. Temas e Debates/ Funarte-Instituto Nacional de Artes Plásticas, 1985. According to Aracy Amaral, in an informal conversation in 2001, the attribution appeared in the material sent by MAM-RJ, for the 1977 exhibition. hand, that in the typewritten text of a lecture by Helio Oiticica (1937-80), “Situação da avant-garde no Brasil”, dated 15.12.1966, within the cycle Seminar Proposals 66, which took place at the Municipal Library of S. Paulo (12-15.12.1966, republished in César OITICICA Filho [org.], Hélio Oiticica – Museum is the World, Rio de Janeiro, Beco do Azougue, 2011, pp.103-04), HO referred to “a constructive need that is characteristic of us (see architecture, for example) and that tends, every day, to define itself Even more". The diagnosis was consolidated in writing the following year, which constituted the main article of the small notebook for the exhibition New Brazilian Objectivity, Rio de Janeiro, Museum of Modern Art (6-30.04.1967). There, Item 1 was called “General constructive will” and opened with the statement: “In Brazil, innovative movements generally present this unique characteristic, in a very specific way, that is, a marked constructive will”. Cf. H. OITICICA, “General scheme of the new objectivity” (Rio, MAM, 1967), republished several times, most recently, in César OITICICA Filho (org.), Hélio Oiticica – Museum is the World, on. cit., pp. 87-101.

[vi] On the controversies surrounding constructivists, see B. Buchloch, op. cit., and C. Lodder, op.cit.. On the relations between constructivists and productivists with the Workers' Opposition, their criticisms of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and their dialogue with the Left Opposition, see Thyago Marão Villela's master's thesis, The Sunset of October: Russian Constructivism, the Left Opposition and the Restructuring of the Way of Life, São Paulo, Graduate Program in Visual Arts, School of Communications and Arts, University of São Paulo, 2014, available in>. See also Clara de Freitas FIGUEIREDO, Photography: between Fact and Farce (USSR-Italy, 1928-1934). Doctoral thesis in Visual Arts. University of Sao Paulo. 2018. Available at:>; see also Marcela Fleury, 1921: The Year of Contraries, master's dissertation, PPG in Economic History, Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences, University of São Paulo, 2022.

[vii] Putting the implications in detail, they were debates around the Perestroika Byta [reconstruction of the way of life], instrument of a cultural revolution changing social relations and whose meaning was under discussion, in particular with regard to work relations, if not since the foundation of the Proletkult in October 1917, certainly from April 1918, when Lenin's directives regarding the adoption of the Taylorist system of work (see below) were openly contested by the magazine The Art of the Commune (1918-1919), published by the Moscow section of the Proletkult. Its members – so called kom-fut (futurist communists) – they would meet again, in March 1923, in the magazine The F, whose chief editor and several collaborators had belonged to the The Art of the Commune. See on this subject Gérard Conio, «From the construction of the object to the construction of the life [From the construction of the object to the construction of life]», in Le Construtivisme Russe, volume II, Le constructivisme litteraire. Textes theoriques – manifests – documents, Avant-garde offices/ Lausanne, l'Âge d'Homme, 1987, p. 9. Indeed, by nature unlimited and functioning as a kind of seismogram, the debate on the way of life, as a point of convergence, was also directly linked – such is the point of view iceberg –, to a more restricted debate, but one with a strong seismic potential: that of the privileges obtained within the one-party regime. See in this regard the report (for a long time kept secret) by Yevgeny Preobrazhensky (then one of the three secretaries of the party leadership), dated July 1920 and addressed to the Central Committee, in which he stated that «among communist militants from the neighborhoods, the expression “from the Kremlin” is pronounced with hostility and contempt », to conclude with a final recommendation: «(…) that of rapidly elaborating all the necessary measures to combat the decomposition in the ranks of our party» (Source: RGASPI, fund 17, inventory 86, dossier 203, page 3, published as I. Preobrazhensky, “The question of the privileges of the apparatus of the communist party of the USSR/ unpublished document” in Labor Movement Notebooks, , no. 1, São Paulo, Publisher WMF Martins Fontes/ Sundermann, 2021, pp. 107-17 (earlier published in Les Cahiers du Mouvement Ouvrier, no. 24, Sep-Oct 2004, Paris). We will return later to the issue of Taylorist restructuring of work and the opposition to this plan. On Lenin's directives, see "Les tâches immédiates du pouvoir soviétique [The immediate tasks of Soviet power]" (Pravda, no. 83, April 28, 1918 and supplement to Izvestia VTsIK, no. 85). Still belonging to the ruling group, but soon in the Left Opposition (in October 1923), the People's Commissar for the Army and Navy, Trotsky, also intervened with a collection of texts in this debate (belatedly in relation to other authors) in July and September 1923 (Les Questions du Mode de Vie [1923], trans. Joelle Aubert-Yong, introduction d'Anatole Kopp. Paris, Union Générale d'Éditions, 10-18, 1976; ed. Eng.: Léon TROTSKY, Lifestyle Issues/The Era of “Cultural Militantism” and its Tasks (1923), preface Anatole Kopp, trans. A. Castro, Lisbon, Antidote, 1969).

[viii] [constructivist manifesto (1921): les constructivistes déclarent hors-la-loi l'art et ses prêtres]; [Malyevich: The hair is a prejudge du passé, the hair is permanent] [Rodchenko: «A bas l'art, moyen de fuir une vue dépourvue de sens! (…) A bas les monastères, les institutions, les studios, les ateliers, les cabinets de travail et les îles!»] apud F. ALBERA, Eisenstein and …, op. cit. (São Paulo), p. 171; Eisenstein et... op. cit. [nineteen ninety], P. 126; [2019], p. 189.

[ix] On the stonecutters’ strike, against the division of labor established by Brunelleschi’s project, see Giulio Carlo ARGAN, “The architecture of Brunelleschi and the origins of perspective theory in the fifteenth century”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute, vol. 9, London, 1946, pp. 96-121, available at:> (accessed on 21.08.2022).

[X] “The entire artistic life of Europe has unfolded over the last few decades under the sign of the 'art crisis'. When, sixty years ago, Manet's canvases made their appearance at the Parisian vernissages, provoking a veritable revolution in the artistic circles of Paris at the time, painting lost the first stone of what constituted its foundation. And all the further evolution of pictorial forms, which we interpreted a little while ago as a process of incessant improvement, now appears to us, seen through the prism of recent years, to mark, on the one hand, the irreversible decomposition of the pictorial organism into its constituent elements, and on the other On the other hand, the degeneracy of painting as a typical art form [Toute la vie artistique de l'Europe s'est deroulée au cours des desnières décennies sous le signe de la 'crise de l'art'. Quand, il ya soixante ans de cela, les toiles de Manet firent leur apparition dams les vernissages parisiens, provoquant une véritable révolution dans les milieux artistiques du Paris d'alors, la peinture perdit la première pierre de ce qui faisai son assise. Et toute l'évolution ultérieure des formes pictoriales, que nous interprétions naguère encore comme un processus de perfectionnement incessant, nous apparaît maintenant, vue à travers le prisme des toutes denières années, marquer d'une part la décomposition irreversible de l'organisme pictural en ses éléments constitutifs. et d'autre part, la dégénérescence de la peinture en tant que forme d'art typique]». See N. TARABOUKINE, “1. Diagnostic [1. Diagnosis]”, in idem, Du Chevalet…, op. cit., p. 33.

[xi] On productivism as a term of a revolutionary historical development, see N. TARABOUKINE, «23. La réfraction de l´idée de maîtrise productiviste dans les autres arts [23. The refraction of the idea of ​​productivist mastery in other arts]», in idem Du Chevalet…, op. cit., pp. 70-4.

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