El Lissitsky

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El Lissitsky

Lazar Markovich Lissitzky [Лазарь Маркович Лисицкий] (November 23, 1890December 30, 1941), more famous as El Lissitzky [Эль Лисицкий], was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, teacher, typographer, and architect.


  • The artist constructs a new symbol with his brush. This symbol is not a recognizable form of anything that is already finished, already made, or already existent in the world – it is a symbol of a new world, which is being built upon and which exists by the way of the people. (c. 1919)
    • Wikipedia: El Lissitzky, note [18]
  • We consider the triumph of the constructive method to be essential for our present. We find it not only in the new economy and in the development of the industry, but also in the psychology of our contemporaries of art. Veshch will champion constructive art, whose mission is not, after all, to embellish life, but to organize it. (1921)
    • Wikipedia: El Lissitzky, note [2]
  • In contrast to the old monumental art [the book] itself goes to the people, and does not stand like a cathedral in one place waiting for someone to approach.. ..[The book is the] monument of the future. (c. 1930)
    • Wikipedia: El Lissitzky, note [2]

El Lissitzky, El Lissitzky : Life, Letters, Texts (1967; 1980)[edit]

Edited by Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers
  • We believe that the elements in the chemical formula of our creative work, problem, invention, and art, correspond to the challenges of our age.
    • Page 378
  • The purpose of architecture is to transmute the emptiness into space, that is into something which our minds can grasp as an organized unity.
    • Page 384

Quotes about El Lissitsky[edit]

  • [El] * Lissitsky does exclaim 'Schafft Gegenstande' [Make Things]. But by this he does not mean real things.. .But why 'Gegenstande [Things]'? He only wants to make pseudo-things which express his urge for reality, for the earth. Things of the same hardness, immovability, earthbound in the same way as the daily life he sees around him.
    • w:Jacob Bendien, in Richtingen in de Hedendaagsche schilderkunst / Trends in the Present Day Art of Painting, w:Jacob Bendien; W.L & J. Brusse N.V. Rotterdam, 1935 (transl: Anne Porcelijn), pp. 93-98
  • * Not all Constructivists concentrate so strongly on reality.. .Moholy Nagy’s work is 'l’art pour l’art' - as opposed to Lissitsky who is demonstrative; he is ethical in as much as he [El Lissitsky] propagates the Bolshevist morale of not dreaming but doing, of preferring a direct gesture rather than one of beauty.. .Lissitsky wants nothing to do with 'l’art pour l’art'. 'Proun' – as he called his work – is art in order to demonstrate the feel of reality. In 'Kunstismen' [art magazine published by Lissitsky and Jean Arp ], Lissitsky defines Proun as the 'Umsteige-station von Malerei nach Architectur' (the 'Step-over from the art of painting to Architecture').

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