Ivan Puni, Study for a Fresco, 1921

Ivan Puni, Study for a Fresco, 1921. Watercolor. Purchased, the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund.

Ivan Puni, Study for a Fresco, 1921

This bizarre image of a falling, hoop-holding figure who slips between nearly parallel lines against a ground of circles, rectangles, and letters—this strange scene may be Ivan Puni’s provisional sketch for his exhibition installation at Der Sturm Gallery, Berlin, in February 1921. Puni, a Russian Constructivist known later in Paris as Jean Pougny, pioneered the activation of gallery space and beyond in this exhibit of framed and unframed artworks, cut-out letters and shapes against the walls, around corners, and over the windows, and cubist-constructivist sandwichmen parading in the street below. The documentary photograph that resembles this sketch reveals two of the “nearly parallel lines” hovering in front of the tall, recessed double doors; the figure appears pinned to the wall, but does he wave the hoop when the door pulls open?

--Jenny Anger, Associate Professor of Art