El Lissitzky (1890 – 1941), was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, typographer and architect. He was an important figure of the Russian Avant Garde who helped develop suprematism with his mentor, Kazimir Malevich.
His work greatly influenced the Constructivist movement and would go on to dominate 20th century design, especially through his influence on the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements.
Re-building some of El Lissitzky's work as virtual artifacts constituted my contribution to a collaborative Second Life venture which was part of a large exhibition that was held in the Spring of 2014 in the Manege Museum in Moscow. The conceptualizers of the project, filmmaker Peter Greenaway and artist Saskia Boddeke, were supported by the British Council to create a mega-exhibit by combining film, animation and 3D virtual world technology that were brought together to create a unified atmospheric setting which drew the viewer into the period of the Russian avant-garde. More than 1,000 artworks, borrowed from galleries and private collections around the world, were displayed across 5000 square metres, woven together with a gigantic polyscreen installation which combined real and virtual film footage that also featured our Second Life collaboration.
Having long been a great admirer of El Lissitzky's work, when I was invited by Saskia Boddeke to contribute to their project, I immediately asked her whether it would be possible for me to concentrate exclusively on his output - a proposal to which she had no objection to.
The result were three different projects that in two cases were almost exact replicas of El Lissitzky's work (for which the needed permissions were obtained by the exhibition's organizers in Russia), and one of which was more of an interpretation based upon his original output. These three builds, which I am showing here in juxtaposition to El Lissitsky's original drawings and layouts are my homage to a man who I think is one of the greatest designers, if not indeed the greatest designer, of the 20th century.