The 1925 international Exhibition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industry in Paris was an opportunity for the Soviet government to showcase its cultural achievements on an international stage. The exhibits included a selection of Popova’s textiles, and Rodchenko’s design for a workers’ Club – a collective leisure space, in which bourgeois comfort was replaced by geometric functionalism. A chess table, bookcases and space to read encouraged the proletariat to spend their time productively. There were movable display cases for photographs, documents and maps, and pull-out projection screens for presentations. The ‘Lenin Corner’ was devoted to study materials related to the former Soviet leader, who died in 1924. while in Paris, Rodchenko bought two new cameras: from now on, he would devote much of his energy to photography and film.
This room also includes photographs of fellow artists, architects, writers and critics. Constructivism was a collective enterprise, which thrived on the sharing of ideas and collaboration between different disciplines. By the 1930s, however, it was losing ground, as the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR) promoted ‘heroic realism’ to glorify workers and peasants through easel painting and monumental sculpture. In the years to come, Rodchenko and his colleagues were increasingly marginalised and Socialist Realism was endorsed as the sole approved artistic style of the Soviet Union.