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14. Geometry after Utopia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter takes the phrase 'utopian geometry' to refer to any way of organising the elements of a work of art that in the mind of an artist might point towards, or evoke, an ideal state of affairs. For the Moscow Constructivists, geometry became a way of modelling the energies of the social organism in accordance with the commitments of Marxism and Communism. It seems that in Russia itself in the 1970s and 1980s the utopian geometries of earlier Constructivism and Suprematism seldom came in for irony in the American style. Sculptors of the order of Richard Serra and Richard Deacon recognised early on how the use of non-orthogonal geometries could produce approximations to observations of organic flow and instability that scientists were making. The prospect of social utopia having receded, today's artists are welcoming new geometries in new circumstances.

Keywords: Communism; Constructivism; Richard Deacon; Richard Serra; Russia; utopian geometry



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