Varvara Stepanova A page from a catalogue of the exhibition '5 x 5=25' 1921

Varvara Stepanova
A page from a catalogue of the exhibition 5 x 5=25 1921

Private collection
© A. Rodchenko & V. Stepanova Archive / DACS 2009

The second part of 5 x 5 = 25 took place in October 1921. This selection of works was intended to prove how art could progress to playing a role in the real world. Rather than paintings, these were works on paper or maquettes. Rodchenko, for example, exhibited Constructivist designs for lamps and chandeliers. Popova presented her designs for a series of banners. Vesnin and Exter showed stage designs, and Stepanova contributed her sketches for figures.

The ideas behind the two parts of the exhibition were confirmed in the ideological debates taking place at INKhUK. At a meeting in November 1921, the critic Osip Brik proposed that, having rejected easel painting once and for all, artists should devote themselves to industrial production. Popova and Rodchenko were both among those who signed their agreement, adopting the slogan ‘art into life’ and acknowledging ‘production art as an absolute value and Constructivism as its only form of expression.’