Female Athletes, c. 1927
silver print on paper
9.6 x 14.2 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Foundation
The Russian Constructivist artist Alexander Rodchenko worked as a decorator, furniture and theatre designer, printer, painter, sculptor, as well as a photographer. He was the co-author of the first Constructivist manifesto in 1921. He and his fellow artists argued that labour, technology, and organization were creative activities and, instead of creating “useless” paintings and sculpture, they produced “useful” art such as industrial designs, posters, logos, and photographs. In the early 1920s Rodchenko acquired his first camera, and photography soon became his preferred medium. Many of his photographs, particularly those of athletes and workers, highlight the artist’s interest in movement and symbolism. The WAG image celebrates the strength and power of youth, a highly charged political propagandist symbol.