Constructivism is a strictly non-objective style of modernism in the first half of the 20th century. At times, the direction had the character of a political movement and was developed in revolutionary Russia and the Soviet Union; the Dutch De Stijl is also mentioned in this context. The term constructivism refers to the Latin word constructio: "assembling", "building".
It is characterised by a simple geometric vocabulary of forms, as in the famous painting Black Square on a White Ground by Kasimir Malevich. The new art movement, which also had an inherent social moment in its theoretical manifestations, included painting, sculpture, architecture, furniture design, stage design and poster design. Constructivist painting, e.g. Malevich's Suprematism, did not include the illusion of perspective space.
Although the attempt to create art objects by means of mathematically based constructions is not new (cf. Golden Section), the term constructivism is generally only used for modern art, mostly in connection with geometric forms of design. Constructivism is a form of expression of non-representational art that does not abstract from the visual. Unlike Cubism, Constructivist works are not based on human figures, animals, landscapes or objects. Malevich, Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Max Bill, Richard Paul Lohse and others have pointed out that it is therefore wrong to call Constructivism and Concrete Art (also called Constructive Art) Abstract Art.
The Constructivists advocated a geometric-technical design principle with coloured areas, lines and basic geometric forms. Their main representatives were artists of the Russian avant-garde. Constructivism developed parallel to Dadaism and Futurism from the mid-1910s. Its sources and inspirations were: applied arts (e.g. woven carpets, textile patterns), new technical developments and Cubism. Constructivism had a great influence on the development of the Bauhaus art and design movement.
Like Malevich, Liubov Popova, Rodchenko and other members of the Russian avant-garde, Josef Albers, Lyonel Feininger, Piet Mondrian, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Thilo Maatsch, for example, also painted compositions from geometric forms. Later, Victor Vasarely, Max Bill, Richard Paul Lohse and Barnett Newman also advocated the constructive principle. Oskar Schlemmer became known for his figural constructivism. The painters belonging to the English group "Unit one" sympathised with Constructivism, but preferred less bound forms.