Vladimir Tatlin

Russian artist
photo of Vladimir Tatlin, 1920

Vladimir Yevgraphovich Tatlin (8 December 1885 – 31 May 1953) was a Soviet painter and architect. With Kazimir Malevich he was one of the two most important figures in the Soviet avant-garde art movement of the 1920's; later he became an important artist in the Constructivist movement. He is most famous for his design for 'The Monument to the Third International'.

Quotes of Vladimir TatlinEdit

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes of Vladimir Tatlin
 
Tatlin, 1913: 'Female Model / Натурщица', oil-painting on canvas; current location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; quote from the diary of Popova: 'After seeing Picasso's Cubist constructions [later in 1913], Tatlin said, he began to work according to other principles [than Cubism]
 
Tatlin, 1913: a design for 'A Life for the Tsar'
 
Tatlin, 1916: 'Counter-relief' lacquered mahogany, iron, wood, zinc; current location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow: quote of Tatlin, before 1920: 'Let's split open our figures and place the environment inside them..'
 
Tatlin, 1919: 'Maquette of 'The Monument to the Third International' (often called the 'Tatlin's Tower'); there are models in the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, at Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and at Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris
 
Tatlin, 1919: 'The Monument to the Third International', a recent-made copy of 'Tatlin's Tower', 1919; location: Moderna Museet Collection - Stockholm; quote of Tatlin, c. 1920's: 'It was to be dynamic, both in its outward form and inward activity..'
 
Tatlin, 1929-1932: 'Letatlin No. 3' a human-powered ornithopter; current location: Central Air Force Museum, at Monino Airfield, Russia; - quote of Tatlin, c. 1930: 'I too want to give back to man the feeling of flight [with this air-bike, as he called it]. This we have been robbed of by the mechanical flight of the aeroplane. We cannot feel the movement of our body in the air.'

Quotes, 1910 - 1925Edit

  • In reinforced concrete we have not only a new material but, of far greater consequence, new constructions and a new method for designing buildings. Therefore, in using [reinforced concrete], we have to renounce the old traditions and concern ourselves with meeting new tasks.
    • Quote in: 'Zodchii 19' (1915), p. 198; as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 30
  • Let's split open our figures and place the environment inside them.
    • Quote before 1920; ac cited by Christina Lodder, in Russian Constructivism, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 17
  • [iron and glass, the] 'materials of the new Classicism'.
    • Quote, 1921: in Nasha predstoiashchaia rabota,, V. Tatlin, T Shapiro, I. Meerzon, and P. Vinogradov, 'VIII s"ezd sovetov. Ezhednevnyi biulleten' s"ezda 13 (January 1, 1921), p. 11; as cited by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 30
  • [to create] A union of purely artistic forms for a utilitarian purpose.. [referring to his Tower / Monument, with a height of 400 meters, but never constructued]
    • Quote, c. 1920; as cited by Camilla Gray, The Russian Experiment in Art: 1863-1922, London: Thames and Hudson, 1962, p. 225
  • It [ [his Tower ] was to be dynamic, both in its outward form and inward activity..
    • Quote, c. 1920's; as cited by Camilla Gray, The Russian Experiment in Art: 1863-1922, London: Thames and Hudson, 1962, p. 226
  • [the task of material culture is] to shed light on the tasks of production in our country, and also to discover the place of the artist-constructor in production, in relation to improving the quality both of the manufactured product and of the organization of the new way of life in general.
    • Quote, May 1924; from Tatlin's lecture on 'Material Culture and Its Role in the Production of Life in the USSR'; as quoted by Larissa A. Zhadova, ed., Tatlin, trans. Paul Filotas et al; Thames and Hudson, London, 1988, p. 252
    • In May 1924, right in the middle of N.E.P., Tatlin offered his synoptic statement of what was still the task of material culture

Quotes, 1926 - 1954Edit

  • The influence of my art is expressed in the movement of the Constructivists, of which I am the founder – Tatlin.
    • Quoted from a biographical note written by Tatlin in 1929, published in Tatlin', Weingarten; Kunstverlag Weingarten, 1987), p. 328; as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 34
  • The dream [of flying] is as old as Icarus.. .I too want to give back to man the feeling of flight [with his 'Letatlin'-air-bike, 1929-1932]. This we have been robbed of by the mechanical flight of the aeroplane. We cannot feel the movement of our body in the air.
    • quote, c. 1930; [1] cited by Christina Lodder, in Russian Constructivism; Yale University Press, Connecticut, 1983, p. 213
    • The 'Letatlin' was a glider, what Tatlin called an 'air bike', since it would be manually pedaled by the user and contain no motor
  • The engineers made hard forms. Evil. With angles. They are easily broken. The world is round and soft..
    • quote, c. 1930; cited by Christina Lodder, in Russian Constructivism; Yale University Press, Connecticut, 1983, p. 214
    • The 'Letatlin' Tatlin constructed in organic round and oval forms

Quotes about Vladimir TatlinEdit

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Vladimir Tatlin
  • [Moscow, Spring of 1914:] Dear Sirs, On the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th of May this year the studio of Vladimir Tatlin (57 Ostozhenka, apartment 3) will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. for a free viewing of his synthetic-static compositions. In addition, at seven o'clock on the aforementioned days, the Futurist Sergei Podgaevskii will dynamically declaim his latest poetic transrational records.
    • as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 25
  • I am familiar with Tatlin's theatrical designs in which there is a charming and original quality of color and an unusual balancing [ekvilibristika] of line-{illeg.}. Perhaps this is only trickery, but even trickery is already an art, and for this talent is required.
    • Quote from Benua, in his review of the 0.10 exhibition (Dec. 1915/Jan. 1916): "Posledniaia futuristicheskaia vystavka," p. 3.; as quoted by Jane A, Sharp, in Chapter 'The Critical Reception of the 0.10 Exhibition: Malevich and Benua, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 50 - note 15
  • [Tatlin, in a lecture] expressed his dissatisfaction with authorities who did not really support his endeavors to work in industrial concerns.
    • Quote of K. Miklashevskii, 1920's in Hypertrophy in Art, note 37: 37 K; as quoted by Larissa A. Zhadova, ed., Tatlin, trans. Paul Filotas et al; Thames and Hudson, London, 1988, p. 137 n. 35
  • If the idea of the monument [ Tatlin's Tower ] is truly new and valuable, then it will never die. Prophets have not always been stoned and imposters have not always succeeded.
    • In the 'Petrogradskaia Pravda', December 1920, quoted from an undated newspaper clipping in the collection of A. Korsakova, Moscow (transl. Vasilii Rakitin, 1992)
  • An absurd and naive, monstrous beast [ Tatlin's Tower ] with a radio-telegraph horn on its head and the legislative assembly of the Third International in its belly?
    • Quote of N. Radlov, in futurizme, (St. Petersburg: "Akvilon," 1923), p. 48 (transl. Vasilii Rakitin, 1992)
  • The Council of People's Commissars would flee from such a building on the first sunny day and, camped out nearby on the grass, would immediately issue a decree that Tatlin's tower is for rent, at public auction, to horticulturists wishing to grow pineapples.
    • Quote of K. Miklashevskii, in 'Gipertrofiia iskusstva' (Petrograd, 1924), p. 59 (transl. Vasilii Rakitin, 1992)
  • Tatlin does not transcend the confines of Cubism.
    • Quote by Kazimir Malevich c. 1928, in 'The Constructive Painting of Russian Artists and Constructivism', in K. S. Malevich, Essays on Art, ed. Troels Andersen, (transl. Xenia Glowacki-Prus & Arnold McMillin), London: Rapp & Whiting, 1969, vol. 2, pp. 74-84
    • Malevich asked his students and followers to repeat this short sentence after him, during his teachings
  • 'Letatlin' (1929-32) is a flying bird, Tatlin's bicycle, on which one can 'sail' through the air. In artistic circles reactions varied yet all struck basically the same chord: he's flown out of art, - a move into technology..
    • Quote of E. Kronman, in 'Ukhod v tekhniku. Tatlin 1 'Letatlin,' in 'Brigada khudozhnikov 6' (1932), pp. 19-23; cited by Vasilii Rakitin in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992 - note 73
    • The name 'Letatlin' is a combination of the Russian word 'letat', meaning: 'to fly', and Tatlin's own last name
  • [Tatlin and his 'Letatlin'] an amazing character, but absolutely no artist.
    • Quote of A. Efros, in 'Mastera raznykh epokh', 'Sovetskii khudozhnik, (Moscow, 1979), p. 547; cited by Vasilii Rakitin in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992 - note 74
  • ['Letatlin' is] not so much.. ..an invention as.. ..a sui-generis work of art
    • quote of N. Frausek, in 'Iskusstvo v tekhniku', 'Tekhnika', April 9, 1932, p. 4; cited by Vasilii Rakitin in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992 - note 75
  • In her diary, Popova recorded Tatlin's story about how, right before his departure from Paris for Moscow [in 1913], he visited 'Pavel' Picasso himself.. ..(see A. Strigalev, O poezdke Tatlina v Berlin i Parizh, in 'Iskusstvo 2' (1989), pp. 39-43).. .After seeing Picasso's Cubist constructions, Tatlin said, he began to work according to other principles [than Cubism ].
    • Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 29
  • The Constructivists recklessly spoke of replacing art with life and wanted to make the object of production the object of art. Tatlin built a stove in his room to keep from freezing, sewed a specially tailored coat to keep from shivering in the wind, and cut himself a comfortable work suit. Playing with the industrial production of an object was not the last motivation of the design solutions of the Moscow Constructivists.
    • Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 34

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