Naum Gabo was a Russian artist born on August 5, 1890, and died in the United States on August 23, 1977, the country where he lived since 1946. Gabo was a constructivist sculptor ─a visual and architectural movement that emerged in Russia in the 1920s─, and one of the forerunners of kinetic art.

His academic training was between science and art. He began drawing and painting at the age of 17; then he became interested in scientific studies, knowledge that was useful for the development of his sculptural work. Around 1910, while he was staying in Berlin, he studied medicine and later engineering, but his attraction to art led him to take classes in art history courses taught by the Swiss art theorist, historian and critic Heinrich Wölfflin, who defined the history of art based on the Renaissance and the Baroque as opposing styles, such as, for example, the linear as opposed to the pictorial.

Around 1912, Gabo traveled to Paris where he met his brother Antoine Pevsner, with whom, since then, he developed his work in parallel, both contributing, their knowledge of artistic techniques, and their scientific notion applied to materials and shapes. In both, the artistic vision, and the scientific method merge.

With Pevsner, in 1920, he published the Manifiesto Realista, proclaiming the principles of pure Constructivism, in one of whose five postulates they affirm: "We renounce the artistic disenchantment rooted for centuries, according to which static rhythms are the only elements of the visual arts. We affirm that in these arts is the new element of kinetic rhythms…”.

1. Naum Gabo. Cabeza n. °2
Although this manifesto questions the attempts of Cubism and Futurism not to get the figurative arts to move away from the past, thus causing only disenchantment, it is observed that in the first works that Gabo made between 1915 and 1917 were heads and torsos in sheets of cut metal, inspired by the decomposition of volumes into planes typical of the Analytical Cubism of Picasso and Braque; but then Gabo moves away from all figurative reference to work from abstraction, from pure, non-utilitarian Constructivism, in aspects hitherto unknown in sculpture, such as movement, dematerialization and transparency, together with the experimentation of new materials. such as steel, cellulose acetate, plexiglass, and glass. Over time his sculpture evolves towards large formats, adopting dimensions close to those of architectural works.
2. Naum Gabo. Spiral Theme
Gabo, instead of technically making his sculptures in the traditional way, by carving stone, wood, or bronze casting, proceeded to assemble metal sheets through welding and the assembly of Plexiglas sheets and structures interwoven with nylon threads. This artist dematerializes his works, breaking with the traditional idea of ​​sculpture as a closed form by opening its volumes, which he creates by incorporating space, which not only contains or surrounds the sculpture, but also penetrates it, integrates with it and he gives it shape, taking advantage of its transparency or scarce materiality, acquiring the semblance of drawings in space.
3. Naum Gabo. Linear Space Construction n. °2.
This artist set out to unite space, time, and movement in his three-dimensional works, which is why he called them kinetic sculptures, a term that, as we have seen, appears for the first time in the aforementioned Manifesto, coinciding with his first kinetic work, which consisted of a steel rod moved by an engine. Kinetic art has as an aesthetic principle the movement and integration between the work and the viewer, who can appreciate the movement in it either by moving around it, interacting, penetrating it, or through optical effects, retinal vibration.
Gabo's contributions, together with his brother Pevsner, contributed to the development of this artistic movement and to transcend the traditional concept of sculpture, in addition to having established a connection between art and science.
Prada Colón. Rendal 4-12


Written by José Gregorio Noroño,

 Arte Original.

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