Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution in Photography

5 Oct. 2013 – 12 Jan. 2014


The exhibition is a retrospective of the photographs of Alexander Rodchenko, one of the leading  Russian artists of the first half of the 20th century.

It is a great honour for the Reykjavík Art Museum to have the opportunity to display this exhibition of Rodchenko’s work, which has been shown in many countries around the world in the past few years. No-one with an interest in art, political history, photography or graphic art should miss this unique chance to experience Rodchenko’s work.

The works at the exhibition are from the collection of the Moscow House of Photography Museum/ Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow.

Born in St. Petersburg in 1891, Rodchenko worked in Moscow as an artist and designer from 1915. He used many different media in his art: he started out as a painter and sculptor, then moved into photography in 1925.  He was a pioneer in photography and graphic design, designing for instance book covers, posters and advertisements in collaboration with Varvara Stepanova, his wife and closest colleague. The posters are among Rodchenko's best-known works, and remain inspiring nearly a century on. 

The art of Rodchenko and other avant-garde Russian artists of the time is indissolubly connected with the rapidly-changing Russian society of the time, industrialisation and the Russian Revolution. Rodchenko was one of the key figures in a group of radical artists in Moscow, who called themselves Constructivists, and saw art as a tool to serve the interests of society and progress.

Rodchenko was convinced of the power of photography, and strove to convince people to see it as an art form. Through his pictures, he wanted people to see the world with new eyes. Rodchenko pioneered new approaches to composition and took photographs from unconventional viewpoints.

“I want to take quite incredible photographs that have never been taken before, pictures which are simple and complex at the same time, which will amaze and overwhelm people. I must achieve this so that photography can begin to be considered a form of art,” wrote Rodchenko in his journal in 1934, as the utopian vision of a new kind of society, progressive and just, gave way to Stalin’s edict that all art in the Soviet Union must exemplify Socialist Realism.

Harshly criticised for his art, Rodchenko was forced to toe the party line on art; but he continued to write about photography, and received state commissions to take photographs of industrial development etc.

Curator: Olga Sviblova
Producer: Ragnheiður Kristín Pálsdóttir



Sunday 6 October  3 p.m.
Guðmundur Oddur Magnússon, aka Goddur, a professor at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, will discuss the work of Alexander Rodchenko from the perspective of the history of design.
Ragnheiður Kristín Pálsdóttir, producer of the exhibition, will talk about the artist’s works.

Sunday 20 October  3 p.m.
The photographer Einar Falur Ingólfsson will discuss the works of Rodchenko in relation to the history of photography.

Sunday 3 November  2 p.m.
The artist Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir will lead a workshop for the entire family in connection with the exhibition.

Sunday 17 November 3 p.m.
Benedikt Hjartarson, an assistant professor at the University of Iceland, will discuss the works of Rodchenko as they relate to the avant-garde.

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Alexander Rodchenko
Stairs, 1930, © A. Rodschenko – V. Stepanova Archive 
©Moscow House of Photography Museum

Alexander Rodchenko Stairs, 1930, © A. Rodschenko – V. Stepanova Archive ©Moscow House of Photography Museum


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