El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios

On view May 15, El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios, will feature two groundbreaking masterworks of modern design.

Created in 1923, the two print portfolios by celebrated Russian artist El Lissitzky are among the greatest achievements in graphic art from the 20th century. In his prints, made during a vibrant cultural renaissance in the arts following the Bolshevik revolution, Lissitzky developed an abstract, geometric language aligned with the utopian ideals of Soviet Communism.

Lissitzky coined the word Proun to signify his creative work. While Proun is graphically manifested in the prints, its most notable architectural form was a “Proun Room,” which the artist created in 1923 for an exhibition in Berlin. Today, almost a century later, contemporary artist Hideyo Okamura has designed a “Proun Room” at the Timken for visitors to engage with Lissitzky’s gravity-defying geometric shapes and linear vectors. Okamura’s room for the prints creates an all-enveloping art experience.

The Timken’s world-renowned collection of Russian icons, the official art of the Imperial regime, complements this display of Lissitzky’s avant-garde prints which were suppressed by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s.

This exhibition has been organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. The presentation at the Timken has been made possible by Fenner Milton. May 15, 2014 - October 5, 2014