The first constructivist, Alexander Rodchenko, reached the end of his process in 1921 with the first monochrome paintings. He immediately gave up painting for photography. In a similar approach as the Bauhaus, he became interested in collages which he uses to illustrate the poems of Mayakovsky.
Rodchenko was a contemporary of Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray. Leaving photomontage for photography proper around 1925, he looked for the geometry in architecture and scenes of modern life, with extreme angles of view that remove the reference to horizontal and vertical planes.
The scenery of a staircase in Moscow in 1929 is the best photographic demonstration of Rodchenko's constructivism. An exhibition print 39 x 57 cm is estimated $ 150K, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on September 30, lot 127.
The light is strong, offering no intermediate value between light and shadows in order to remove unnecessary detail. In the center of the image, a woman climbs the stairs with a child in her arms.
Rodchenko seconded the documentarist director and theorist Dziga Vertov, dismissing altogether story and show. When comparing the steps of Rodchenko with the Odessa staircase of the Battleship Potemkin, we see the stark contrast between the peaceful movement of Rodchenko's figure, a symbol of life with child, and the terrible fall of Eisenstein's push-chair, a symbol of child's death.