In 2012, the Museum Tinguely in Basel mounted the exhibition Tatlin: New Art for a New World, the first comprehensive overview of the Russian pioneer in more than 20 years. An interdisciplinary symposium took place during the show, for which researchers from around the world were invited to reassess Tatlin’s oeuvre. This volume provides transcriptions of the occasion, which was divided into six themed panels: “Paintings and Counterreliefs”; “Tatlin and his Contemporaries” (with papers on Khlebnikov, Malevich, van Doesburg); “Revolution, Architecture, Utopia: Tatlin’s Tower”; “Literature and Theater” (with papers on the artist’s set designs and works with Khlebnikov); “The Flight of the Letatlin” (on Tatlin’s glider); and “Perception of Tatlin’s Oeuvre in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century.”
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Simon Baier, Gian Casper Bott, Dimitrij Dimakov, Jürgen Harten, Nathalie Leleu, Maria Lipatova, Anatolij Strigalev, Anna Szech, David Walsh, Roland Wetzel.
Painter, architect, engineer, set designer, father to the Russian Constructivist movement, inventor of the “counter-relief” and author of one of modernism’s greatest icons, the “Monument to the Third International,” Vladimir Tatlin blazed an incredible trail of innovation through the glory years of the Soviet avant-garde. Nevertheless, “Not the old, not the new, but the necessary” was his motto; having spent his early years as an icon painter, Tatlin eschewed the modernist disavowal of heritage in favor of a research-based attitude to materials and genres. His “counter-relief” sculptures, made of wood, cardboard, metal and wire, were foundational works for Rodchenko and the Constructivists, and their influence can be seen today in the works of creators as various as Zaha Hadid and Richard Tuttle. But it is his “Monument to the Third International,” often called simply “Tatlin’s Tower,” that has grasped the imaginations of artists, architects and writers down the generations. Though it was never built, “Tatlin’s Tower” endures as a promethean image of utopian heroism and Soviet optimism, as does the artist himself, who applied his energies so broadly, without loss of integrity or focus. With 120 color illustrations and a wealth of archival photos, this volume offers the first English-language overview of Tatlin’s diverse achievements in more than 25 years. Published for a landmark exhibition at the Museum Tinguely in Basel, it examines every facet of his output, from his early Cubist-influenced paintings to the counter-reliefs, the “Tower,” prints, set and costume designs and aeronautic researches, and constitutes an essential portrait of the ambitions of Soviet modernism. Vladimir Tatlin (1885–1953) was born in the Ukraine, and studied icon painting in Moscow. In 1913 he traveled to Paris, where he encountered Picasso’s three-dimensional sculptures, which directly inspired his own “counter-reliefs.” Following the October Revolution, Tatlin directed his skills towards the Soviet cause, devising in 1920 his “Monument to the Third International.”