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ON DISPLAY
LVL 1

European & American Art
Cubism, Expressionism / Suprematism gallery

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Georgii Augustovich STENBERG

Russia 1900 – 1933

KPS 11 - Construction of a spatial apparatus no. 11 1919-20 reconstructed 1973-74 Creation Notes: reconstructed by Dr Andre B. Nakov 1973-74
sculptures, steel, glass, paint and plaster on wood
Technique: steel, glass, paint and plaster on wood
Edition: edition of 4
Primary Insc: No inscriptions
overall 238.1 h x 85.1 w x 47.2 d cm
Purchased 1975
Accession No: NGA 75.661

Provenance:
  • Galerie Jean Chauvelin, Paris;
  • from whom bought through Annely Juda Fine Art, London, by the Australian National Gallery, October 1975
  • Together with Konstantin Medunetzkii (1899-1934), Georgii and Vladimir Stenberg exhibited sixty-one works at the Café Poetov in Moscow in January 1922.1 The catalogue of the exhibition, titled simply 'Constructivists', lists three kinds of works: 'Colour constructions', 'Projects for Spatio-constructive Apparatus', and 'Constructions of Spatial Apparatus', the last group being the three-dimensional realisation of the preceding stages. The original Russian title Konstruktziia Prosannogo Sooruveniia (Construction of a Spatial Apparatus) provides the acronym KPS under which the three-dimensional works in this series are also known.

    In the Café Poetov exhibition KPS no.11 and KPS no.13 by Georgii Stenberg were exhibited as catalogue numbers 57 and 58 respectively, while KPS no4 and KPS no.6 by Vladimir Stenberg appeared as catalogue numbers 42 and 43.

    Before this, in May 1921, the third exhibition of the obmokhu group was held in Moscow, and outsiders Boris Ioganson and Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) also contributed works. Photographs of the installation show that KPS no.11 by Georgii Stenberg and KPS no.4 by Vladimir Stenberg were also on display.

    It had always been assumed that these four constructions were conceived exclusively as works of art investigating the use of industrial materials to articulate space. Christine Loder, however, had asserted that Stenberg's four pieces were 'conceived as explorations towards the realisation of actual buildings'.2

    Like so many works from this period, the four constructions by the Stenberg brothers shown at the January 'Constructivists' exhibition are missing, presumed destroyed. The reconstruction of these works was undertaken in 1973 by Andrei B. Nakov and completed in 1974. The reconstructions are based on photographs from the 'Constructivists' exhibition of January 1922 and on drawings supplied by Vladimir Stenberg, and the work was carried out by René Hanesse using the techniques and materials of the originals of 1919-20. Each construction was recreated in an edition of four; in addition to the set in the Australian National Gallery, another set is located in the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

    Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.132.

    1. Andrei B. Nakov, 'Abstract/concret', Art Non-objectif Russe et Polonais, Paris: Transédition, 1981, p.183.
    2. Christina Lodder, Russian Constructivism, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1983, p.70.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010