“Constructivist” Cardboard Sculpture


Head No. 2 1916, enlarged version 1964 Naum Gabo 1890-1977 Purchased 1972 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01520

Constructivism was a particularly austere branch of abstract art founded by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko in Russia around 1915.

Tate Museum

The constructivists believed art should directly reflect the modern industrial world. Three-dimensional still lifes were made of scrap materials. They were completely abstract and made of industrial materials. Volume was implied through combining planes – x, y, and z.

1.Look through images on line of cactus. Choose one to recreate in the style of the Constructivists. On a page in your sketchbook draw the cactus as you intend your sculpture to look (in the pot you intend it to be “planted” in).

2. Using cardboard create a “clay pot” (actual or implied) 5-7″ tall  with a 7-10″ opening at the top and a bit small bottom. It does not need to have a lip or be round. It’s design should be simple and clean.

3. Create a cactus to fit in your cardboard pot that is proportionate in size. Using cardboard sheets (protection underneath) draw and cut out the pieces you intend to use in your sculpture. Shapes will be connected with hot glue.

  • Create the pot first with a “faux earth” plane (plug?) to hold (stand up) your cactus. Complete cutting out additional planes to make the constructivist cactus.
  • Curved spears – cut cardboard so that it can be “rolled” over the edge of the table to create evenly curved planes
  • Spikes can be  constructed from wooden shish-kabobs sticks, tooth picks or cardboard
  • Joining two pieces together requires a 1/16″ wide slit on both pieces to hold.
  • Control hot glue – it should not be obvious.

4.Paint.  Create faux texture, gradated color (no flat color….build gradation within each shape).