a picture my son drew of a wave on a beach


tagged with: #thots #arts #broken hill
A black & white photo-montage self-portrait of the artist Lissitzky. It is overlaid with technical drawing gridpaper and a compass
A self-portrait of Lissitzky from 1924

Tracy next door to the Silver Tree Bookshop gave me a haircut on Friday. We chatted about ceramics, Tracy as it turned out is a member of the Broken Hill Potters Society. The conversation reminded me of my old interests in The St Ives School of artists. I mentioned Barbara Hepworth and Bernard Leach. Tracy mentioned she preferred building rather than pottery, I suggested she look up Sarah Dunstan’s work for inspiration.

I was reminded of my previous obsessions with ideas of those dynamic art movements of the 20th century. I was fascinated by the manifesto’s written in the ruins of war and revolution. The artists and thinkers optimistically offering ways to rebuild a better world. Sadly the world was not always listening. For example The Constructivist Naum Gabo who wrote the Realistic Manifesto built hopeful kinetic negative spaces. Most of his works were lost or destroyed by the antipathy of Stalin. Another victim of Stalin’s antipathy was arguably Lissitzky.

A black & white photo of The Red Wedge
Nikolai Kolli’s construction of the Red Wedge in Moscows Revolutsi Square in 1918

Lissitzky (with Malevich) contributed toward the development of Suprematism. As an aside, I read somewhere that Lissitzky was so disfavoured by Stalin’s regime that he had to shelter inside Nikolai Kolli’s hastily constructed plywood construction of The Red Wedge.

'Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge' a lithograph by Lissitzky, 1919
Lissitzky’s Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge 1919

Sleeping in the Red Wedge during a bitter Moscow winter no doubt exacerbated to Lissitzky’s tuberculosis which he eventually died from (if the story is true!). Sadly in later life he spent his time producing soviet propaganda art. The idealism of Suprematism left behind in the practicalities of surviving in Soviet Russia?

Anyway Tracy gave me a good haircut, she invited me to join the Potters Society. I’ll think about it.

It seems that story is not entirely correct. It was Vladimir Tatlin not Lissitzky. Tatlin apparently slept in his own Monument to the Third International (Tatlin’s Tower), not the Red Wedge. It was in Chatwins Songlines, memories are unreliable things.

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