El Lissitzky  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Lazar Markovich Lissitzky (November 23, 1890December 30, 1941), better known as El Lissitzky (Эль Лисицкий), was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, teacher, typographer, and architect. He was one of the most important figures of the Russian avant-garde, helping develop suprematism with his friend and mentor, Kazimir Malevich, and designed numerous exhibition displays and propaganda works for the former Soviet Union. His work greatly influenced the Bauhaus, Constructivist, and De Stijl movements and experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would go on to dominate 20th century graphic design.

Perhaps the most famous work by Lissitzky is the 1919 propaganda poster "Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge". Russia was going through a civil war at the time, which was mainly fought between the "Reds" (communists and revolutionaries) and the "Whites" (monarchists, conservatives, liberals and socialists who opposed the Bolshevik Revolution). The image of the red wedge shattering the white form, simple as it was, communicated a powerful message that left no doubt in the viewer's mind of its intention. The piece is often seen as alluding to the similar shapes used on military maps and, along with its political symbolism, was one of El Lissitzky's first major steps away from Malevich's non-objective suprematism into a style his own. He stated: "The artist constructs a new symbol with his brush. This symbol is not a recognizable form of anything that is already finished, already made, or already existent in the world – it is a symbol of a new world, which is being built upon and which exists by the way of the people."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "El Lissitzky" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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