The Russian Avant-Garde’s Unofficial Emissary to the West
The movie was directed by Alexandra Arkhipova and commented by her and Dr. Alexander Kantsedikas. Additional support was provided by Sergey Lissitzky and Tamara Lissitzky. El Lissitzky was the Russian avant-garde’s unofficial emissary to the West, traveling and lecturing extensively on behalf of Russia’s modern artists who believed that abstraction was a harbinger of utopian social values. Basing himself in Berlin and Hanover in the 1920s, Lissitzky helped produce publications and organize exhibitions promoting both Russian and Western art that shared a common vision of aesthetics steeped in technology, mass production, and social transformation.
While Lissitzky was teaching architecture and graphic design at the Artistic Technical Institute in Vitebsk, his art shifted from figuration to geometric abstraction. Under the tutelage of Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich, Lissitzky began a body of work he would later call Prouns (the acronym for “Project for the Affirmation of the New” in Russian). These non-objective compositions broadened Malevich’s Suprematist credo of pure painting as spiritually transcendent into an interdisciplinary system of two-dimensional, architectonic forms rendered in painted collages, drawings, and prints, with both utopian and utilitarian aspirations.
The movie was published by the M.T. Abraham Foundation. Watch the movie on Vimeo: El Lissitzky -A Film of The Life