Monday, 30 March 2009

Theatrical musings and Russian 1920s art...

So I used to be a costume wench (designer) for theatre productions... I spent most of first and second year dressing other people for the stage before I buried myself in work and came back into the collegiate fold.

But that doesn't stop me having a bit of a thing for theatrical aspects of clothing and a bit of a crush on costume and set designing artists...

So anyway, yesterday I went home to London again, this time for the Oxford Cambridge boat race - we lost... BOOOOOOO! - and to go to the Tate Modern for the Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism exhibition... 

The boat race was lovely - it was sunny, everyone was happy (until we lost) and all in all, it was great seeing my friends... T-B and I Did do a photo shoot, but that will emerge later in the week as those photos are currently in computer-limbo until he's back from a visit to his girl in Bath. 

So... The exhibition was also AMAZING. I must admit to being a huge fan of a lot of modern art - I spend a lot of my free time at the Tate Modern, and this is no exception. I love their use of line and colour. We were in quite a silly mood and spent quite a lot of the exhibition trying to decide what images they could be behind the abstract-ness...
 


The collage is mainly Rodchenko and his graphic design work, while the paintings are some of Popova's GORGEOUS stuff. I love her use of colour and shade. It's so subtle and expressive!

Both Rodchenko and Popova, under the early years post-Russian Revolution produced first studio easel work FAR ahead of its time and then moved from conventional artistry to posters, textiles, graphics, architecture, furniture and mass media - designing for a worker's club (we played a game of chess on one of the boards Rodchenko designed) and the poster for "Battleship Potemkin" for example... The colours and shapes are so striking and I ended up dreaming about it all last night. A simple but beautiful exhibition which I really felt opened my eyes, both from a more traditional painting POV and a graphic / textile design one.

They also designed clothes and costumes for theatre and Rodchenko designed stage sets, which were amazing...

Aren't these kwl? They're dress and textile designs by Popova... I just love the patterns and the muted but strong colours... They had a scarf in the hammer and sickle design. I didn't get it but now wishing I had. I might nip back in if I'm in London again while the exhibition's on... Naughty eh ;-D
And this is my favourite costume by Rodchenko... I'm a sucker for a)burgundy and b) uniform. Hehe.

In the shop, I fell in love with something else... A book on Russian and Soviet theatre which is not only really interesting about theatre under oppression but also contains some AMAZING photos of sets and costumes...

the Classicising figure in the bottom left is Just To Die For, especially considering it's pre-Revolution and yet looks like it could be put on stage tomorrow!

None of the images in these two collages are from Rodchenko and Popova, but from the book "Russian and Soviet Theatre" byRudnitsky
I wish I had time to snuggle up with this book, but it will have to wait a while... Until then, it is sitting on my shelf, unread, but filled with possibilities. I am really feeling some of the make up techniques and the harsh lines.

Xxxc

8 comments:

The Clothes Horse said...

This looks/sounds like an awesome exhibit. Also working as a "costume wench" must have been great. I love the idea of dressing like characters...

Mary said...

Oh wow, the patterns on those dresses are fantastic!

Lily said...

oooooo I love the Russian Constructivists. I also love Tate Modern. Arrrgghhh I wish I was there.

Those patterns are so beautiful. There were also some pretty hideous designs. Someone (possibly Rodchenko... can't remember) designed this fugly black and white suit that everyone was supposed to wear as some sort of unifying socialist tool. URGH!

sarah said...

very interesting images. lovely patterns

Tabby said...

I might go and check this out, I work only five minutes away from the TateM!

Fashionology said...

Russian art is great.. Russia has always intrigued me.. it is such a mysterious place..with a dark history.. I was in the V&A museum in london and there was a exhibition about russians tsars, it was amazing! <3

Victoria C said...

OH my god I would loveee to see that exhibit!! Do you know how long it is on for? xx

grace said...

the tate modern seriously has my heart and is holding it hostage. greatttt post. kinda curing my london homesickness