In Fine Art

Russian abstract art movement which sprang from Futurism. Otherwise known as "International Constructivism". It emerged in Europe in the 1920's.

Artists who were at one time or another associated with Constructivism included:

Museums which have substantial holdings in Constructivist art include:

In Philosophy

There was also a school of Philosophy called Constructivism.

Nodes related to this school include:


Sources: Rickey, George, "Constructivism: Origins and Evolution", George Brazilier, NY, 1967. Taylor, Joshua C., FUTURISM, MoMA, New York, 1961. Last Updated 10.07.02

In mathematics, rejection of proof of propositions by reductio ad absurdum (ie by demonstration that its negation would lead to contradictions) ... one consequence is the denial of the universal validity of the law of the excluded middle.

In cognitive psychology, constructivism is a reaction against the Gibsonian view that knowledge and perception are the result of sensation, and maintains that: (a) the nervous system, in order to be adaptive, must process available information actively and construct an internal world and that (b) these processes be describable in a computer language. Cybernetics participates in this movement by insisting that (1) all knowledge is created by an observer using his finite sources and (b) that the cognitive system is organized or organizes itself so as to compute a stable reality which implies that the constructs that do survive the circular process involving the observer and his environment are those that remain unaffected by disturbances in the form of data which may enter the cycle involuntarily; and that (c) constructs, being descriptions, may be communicated between observers who may include themselves in these observations thus constituting an autonomous organization.

"All the experiments shown here are pictorial
and must be considered only as a preparation
for concrete material constructions."

-Liubov Popova
Artist for the exhibition 5x5=25, 1921


Constructivisim was an optimistic, primarily Russian, art movement inspired by the new technologies of the era, space, time, motion, and the hope of deinstitutionalizating art. It was most prominent in the late 10s through the 30s, though Constructivist elements are still used in art and architecture today.

Constructivisim is characterized by:

  1. sculpture and architecture (since the artists were concerned with space the constructivist would favor three dimensions over two.)
  2. use of new materials , such as plastic or steel
  3. clean cool often cubist-like images.
  4. a hard edged lack of sentimentality
  5. attempts to show the link between space and time through
  6. moving kinetic sculptures .
  7. minimalist lettering designs made of a small set of repeated elements.
  8. big words are used to discuss this art movement, unusual modern words further impart the anti-sentimentality essential to Constructivisim.
  9. communism (the art movement was closely tied to the revolution.)
  10. anti-communism (after the early stages of the revolution Stalin thought that constructivist's ideas were so strange and useless they had to be suppressed.)
  11. Bauhaus (This is where many constructivist artists went when they fell out of favor in Russia.)
  12. Unbridled celebration of the utopian possibilities offered by the new technologies and philosophy.


"Since space and time are the only elements of real life,
an art that is trying to grasp the essence of things
must be founded upon them."

-Sir. Naum Gabo
Constructivist sculpture and painter


"Technology and industry have confronted art
with the problem of CONSTRUCTION as and active principle
not as a contemplative invention."

-Varst Stepanova,
Artist for the exhibition 5x5=25, 1921

This school of international relations incorporates the need to transcend pure rationalism that developed in the 1990’s. Constructivism thought is rooted in sociology, as liberalism is based in microeconomic theory. Constructivists see institutions are only a part of the equation. They see institutions as embodying principles and shared understandings of desirable and accepted forms of social behaviour. Among those states who belong to institutions, those norms evolve through members’ interactions with each other. In successful institutions, the basis for co-operation lies in the expectations of the participants and they ways they shape their understanding of each other. Interests and understandings are a kind of social learning: ideas that can connect people (as they do in liberalism).

Interaction is vital since it is the basis for the formation of relationships. The interests of states, in turn, derive partly from these relationships. States both produce the norms, expectations, and requirements that make up the international climate and respond to that climate. This circular, re-enforcing dynamic is the basis of constructivism. Norms emerge both from rational self-interest and from important values held by states. As states co-operate and entrench shared values in treaties, common understandings will emerge.

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