Naum Gabo & Noton Pevsner

1. The Realistic Manifesto, 1920. (17:24)

Read by Naum Gabo.

Text of the "Realistic Manifesto" (1920)

Extract, 1920, 8'06"
Voice [read in English] – Naum Gabo
Monaural recording on flexible plastic

Recorded by Aspen Magazine, November 1967, in London

Naum Gabo, real name Naum Neemia Pevsner (b. Briansk 1890 - d. Waterbury 1977) and Antoine Pevsner, real name Noton Pevsner (b. Orel 1888- d. Paris 1962), were two Russian brothers, sculptors and founders of the Russian Constructivist movement. They combined Pevsner's knowledge of artistic techniques with Naum's scientific approach to form and materials, to create a combination of artistic vision and scientific method, They produced their first constructivist works in 1920, drawing up The Realistic Manifesto in which they criticised both Cubism and Futurism, saying "they won't take art out of the abysses of the past; they have only led to further mistakes" declaring "space and time are the only forms on which life is built, the only ones on which art must be built". They also rejected colour, line, volume and mass in favour of a single line for direction, kinetic rhythms and the generation of volumes by means of planes. Finally, they advanced the idea that" Art is called to accompany the human being everywhere his tireless life may be spent: in the workshop, the office, at work, at rest and in his free time - working days and holidays - at home and on the road, so that the flame of life is not extinguished in him". Their Manifesto was answered by the Productivist Manifesto (1920) of Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanoa who advocated that the artist be inserted as a technician into the process of production, and that "objects" be created using industrial production-line methods and "proletarian" ways of working. They were allowed to leave Russia in 1922 and settled in Berlin where they made contact with the Bauhaus school in Weimar. By 1926 they had settled permanently in Paris where they led the constructivist group Abstraction-Creation, a group representing various currents in abstract art. The brothers were both later recognised as pioneers of Kinetic Art.

Russian Futurists from the GLM Collection (1920-1959)
Sound Experiments in The Russian Avant-Garde (1908-1942)

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