El Lissitzky and contemporaries


El Lissitzky and contemporaries

19/01/2003 - 30/08/2009

In the Netherlands there are two major collections with works from Russian avant-garde artists from 1920 or thereabouts: the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum’s Malevich collection and the Van Abbemuseum’s Lissitzky collection.

Aside from the Tretjakov Gallery in Moscow, the latter is the most important Lissitzky collection in the world. Reason enough to have a large part of this collection on display in the museum for an indefinite period of time.

In order to place the work of Lissitzky (1890-1941) within the context of European art of the 1920s, along with visual archival material, several related works from contemporaries and kindred spirits are also shown, including those by the Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy and the Dutch artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. Inspired by the new technology and scientific developments, these 1920s artists were searching for a new revolutionary visual language. In so doing they did not want to imitate the visible, existing reality, but depict a new Utopian one. In Russia in particular artists deployed this new visual language in constructing a new socialist society.