Exhibitions/ Art Object

Runner in the City

Artist:
El Lissitzky (Russian, Pochinok 1890–1941 Moscow)
Date:
ca. 1926
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
13.1 x 12.8 cm (5 3/16 x 5 1/16 in.)
Classifications:
Photographs, Collages
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.1100.47
Not on view
In 1926 Lissitzky joined colleagues from the Association of New Architects (ASNOVA) in designing a new sports club, and he created this frenzied representation of an urban athlete as a model for a large frieze. He combined images of at least three separate elements-the runner, the track and hurdle, and a double exposure of Times Square-into a single print and then sliced that print into strips, creating an object that is both constructed and deconstructed. The visual result is a suspenseful moment-shattered, separated, and stretched-that weaves the mechanics of man into a dynamic tapestry of industrial optimism. The heroic pose of the runner, transposed to the center of New York City, becomes an emblem of triumphant human achievement: man and metal engage in an ambitious leap across several voids in the service of industrial progress.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, verso, top center, in Russian translated as: "Work by Lissitzky // (20's ??) // N. Khard-- [Khardzhiev]"; center: "EL";
Nicolai Khardjiev, U.S.S.R. (probably directly from Lissitzky); [Boris Kerdinum, New York (early 1980s)]; [Rosa Esman, New York (ca. 1983)]; John C. Waddell, New York (December 28, 1983)

Cambridge, Mass. Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard Art Museums. "El Lissitzky, 1890-1941," September 1, 1987–November 1, 1987.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 23, 1989–December 31, 1989.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 28, 1990–April 22, 1990.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 10, 1990–July 15, 1990.

High Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 5, 1991–April 28, 1991.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 8, 1991–August 4, 1991.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. "Montage and Modern Life: 1919-1942," April 7, 1992–June 7, 1992.

IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia. "The New Vision, IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia," January 20, 1995–March 26, 1995.

Sprengel Museum Hannover. "El Lissitsky: Beyond the Abstract Cabinet," January 17, 1999–April 5, 1999.

Fundacao de Serralves, Porto. "El Lissitsky: Beyond the Abstract Cabinet," September 16, 1999–November 7, 1999.

Victoria and Albert Museum. "Modernism," April 6, 2006–July 23, 2006.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 55," December 13, 2010–April 4, 2011.

Gwen Goffe, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Utopia/Dystopia: Constructed with Photography," March 11, 2012–June 10, 2012.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Street," March 5, 2013–May 27, 2013.

Naef, Weston J., Sandra Phillips, and David Travis. André Kertész: Of Paris and New York. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985. no. 124, p. 205.

Hambourg, Maria Morris. The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars, Ford Motor Company Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. no. 79.

La Ville Magique. Lille, France: Lille Métropole Musée d'Art Moderne d'Art Contemporain et d'Art Brut, 2012. p. 212, fig. 24.

Nakamori, Yasufumi. Utopia / Dystopia: Construction and Destruction in Photography and Collage. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2012. pp. 77, 84-85 & 110, fig. 27.



The background image for this photomontage (the cityscape) is a photograph of Times Square by Knud Lonberg-Holm, which is reproduced in Cahiers d'Art, No.3, March 1926, p.60 and Erich Mendelsohn's "Amerika," 1926, pl. 44.
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