Alexander Rodchenko: Modernity’s Prometheus Bound – Part I

Alexander Rodchenko:
Modernity’s Prometheus Bound
Part I
by
Brad Kronen

The Third Installment of Brad’s “A Series of Unfortunate Sagittarian Events”

Alexander Rodchenko Caricature by Georgy Petrusov 1933
“Caricature of Alexander Rodchenko” by Georgy Petronov, 1933

 

With Jupiter’s forthcoming transit through its own sign during the calendar year of 2019, much focus is being centered on strictly  just the positive themes which normally accompany this particular segment of the largest planet’s journey as it orbits around the Sun, namely Blessings and Abundance.  As a way of trying to maintain some semblance of cosmic balance, your author thought it  prudent and holistically well rounded to present Jupiterian blessings and abundance from a perspective that is seldom if ever done – from the negative spectrum.  In Brad’s series entitled “A Series of Unfortunate Sagittarian Events” astrological analysis is given to the stories of a few Sagittarian celebrities who experienced tragic endings which unto themselves resulted from the cause and effect repercussions of their own actions.  In reviewing how these children of Jupiter came to such unfortunate ends, the Great Benefic’s “good stuff” is given juxtaposition by showing that even among the Great Benefic’s own there are those who brought about their own ruin by either taking their good fortunes for granted or because they were unwilling to face the realization that Life is not made up solely of just pleasure and pleasantries.

 

It is by appreciating the goodness in our lives along with realizing it is the combination of said  goodness mixed with Life’s hardships and difficulties that our souls are given the best opportunities to optimally experience both spiritual and evolutionary growth.

 

 

Prometheus: “At first senseless as beasts I gave Men sense,
Possessed them of mind.
I speak not in contempt of Man;
I do but tell of good gifts I conferred.”

– Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 457 B.C.

 

In astrology the two signs that subscribe the most to the concept of the “Future” are the last of the Air signs, Aquarius and the final representative of the Fire signs, Sagittarius. With the element of Air being thoroughly of a cerebral essence, anything Aquarian has a Futuristic edge given the natural inclination for that sign to come up with thoughts and ideas that are unconventional which break from the collective standards of whatever is perceived to be the norm. Added to that proclivity is the Aquarian capability to envision things as never before experienced, thus a goodly number of History’s greatest inventors have been born beneath the sign of the Water Bearer.

 

Aside from the fear factor of de-humanization which has germinated since the Industrial Revolution, when one was asked about the future in times past, a goodly portion of people unequivocally pictured themselves in a world that was automatically better and much improved than the environment in which they currently resided.  Here we see the influence of the sign of Sagittarius.  Being ruled by Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, Sagittarian energy sees the world from an optimistic perspective that works on an upward scale, where the passage of time brings overall improvement and expansively so, positively affecting all parties within that futuristic place and time.

 

Pinpointing specific places and times from the Past, if there is a period of history that fascinates those in the Art World most it is those few short years in Russia immediately following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 until totalitarian despot Joseph Stalin and his newly established Soviet government took control over nearly every aspect of Russian life for its citizens, which included the production of any/all “Socialist art” in 1932. A period of just 15 years time which brought forth a unique group of modern artists known as the “Russian Avante-Garde” that unto itself spawned the inherently Russian artistic movements of Constructivism, Suprematism, and of course, Futurism.

Fascinatingly this brief moment in artistic time is marked by two key figures both born beneath the Futuristic sign of Sagittarius who each had the planetary ruler of Aquarius, Uranus positioned in key positions in their individual birth charts.  The central protagonist behind this modernist movement of Futuristic expression is an artist your author holds in the highest regard.  A man whom many in the West are unfamiliar with yet was the pioneer of many of the artistic techniques used throughout much of the Art and advertising worlds of today – Alexander Rodchenko.

 

Juxtaposing Rodchenko’s artistic brilliance is a man whom your author bestows a subjective title of distinction for being THE most evil figure in Modern History, Communist dictator Joseph Stalin.  Both Sagittarian men dedicated themselves to their own idealized notion of transforming Russia.  For Rodchenko, the transformation was a Utopian paradise where all were treated equally with each citizen contributing their individual work and talent towards the glorification of a Communist state. For Stalin, the transformation was a Dystopian prison where each citizen treated each other with fear and distrust as proof of their loyal devotion to him as the glorified autocrat of the Communist state.
 

Devastatingly for Rodchenko of the two visions of an idealized Communist Russia, Stalin’s version bore far more of a resemblance to historic reality.

 

Alexander Rodchenko: Modernity’s Prometheus Bound


Although its author and year of creation is still debated among historical scholars, the general consensus believes the Greek playwright Aeschylus wrote his lyrical tragedy entitled “Prometheus Bound” in the year 457 B.C.  In many ways, the traits and background of the play’s title character can be likened to the role Alexander Rodchenko played within the Russian Avant-Garde.

 

The ancient theatrical piece opens as the Titan Prometheus is about to begin his eternal punishment as decreed by the King of the Gods, Zeus.  He is tied and chained to a large rock on a high cliff where he is open prey to a wild creature that is also Zeus’ animal representative – an eagle.  The bird repeatedly flies down and pecks at Prometheus’ exposed skin as the Titan lies helpless and vulnerable, his chains preventing him from movement or escape.  Once the creature has created a large enough wound, the eagle then takes its talons and claws apart Prometheus’ liver before flying off the cliff’s precipice.  Prometheus lies in agony only to have his liver regenerate anew and his open wound to close and heal in preparation for the eagle’s next torturous visit.

 

The audience is at first led to believe Prometheus is being punished for a single transgression – the Titan gave Mankind the gift of Fire.  But as the play progresses Prometheus explains that Fire wasn’t the only blessing he placed upon the race of beings whose existence the King of Gods intended to destroy.  The Titan tells the Greek Chorus that along with Fire he has also bestowed upon humanity medicine to stave off disease, architecture to provide them shelter, along with the noble arts of Poetry, Music, and the ability to read and write the spoken word as well.

 

Prometheus admits with lamentable regret that he is indeed guilty for rewarding humanity with far too much given Mankind’s survival on Earth is now assured with all he has provided them.

 

The great Jungian analyst and astrologer Liz Greene has stated that the third largest planet in the Solar System was incorrectly named.  Instead of the planetary ruler of the futuristic sign of Aquarius being named after the primitive sky god, Ouranos or Uranus, Greene says a better well-suited name for that planet is Prometheus due to the Titan embodying the Aquarian traits of intellectual brilliance and egalitarianism since his many bestowments were placed upon all of humanity at large.

 

Along with the myth of Prometheus reflecting the sign of Aquarius, the actual story of the tortured Titan contains symbolic imagery that is thoroughly of a Sagittarian nature.

 

Prometheus gives the element of Fire – Sagittarius is the last of the Fire signs.

The Titan is punished by the King of the Gods whose Roman name is Jupiter.  Sagittarius is ruled by the King of Planets known by the same name, Jupiter.

The eagle is the representative of both the King of Gods and the King of Planets.

The body part assigned to the sign of Sagittarius is the focal point of Prometheus’ torture – the liver.

 

Lastly, Prometheus is not the presenter of just one solitary gift to Mankind, he presents to the human race a wide variety of blessings, and here is where the ancient Greek tale mirrors the creative influences of  Sagittarian artist Alexander Rodchenko most.

 

Mutability in Hyper-Speed Motion

 

As previously mentioned the sign of Sagittarius is the last representative of the element of Fire and the essence of Fire is action or overall motion.  It is through the sign of the Centaur’s astrological quality of “Mutable” that we are able to see how the artistry of Alexander Rodchenko was truly like no other.
 

The Mutable signs of Gemini, Virgo, Pisces, and Sagittarius take place at the tail end of each of the Four Seasons just before a new Season begins.  Sagittarius occurs as the season of Autumn draws to a close right before the Winter Solstice takes place.  Because the Mutable signs occur during times of seasonal transition, those born beneath that astrological quality function best when they have access and exposure to the concepts of Variety and Change.  That, along with the Mutable signs are the true multi-taskers of the Zodiac where their energies are best utilized doing a number of activities all at the same time.
 

Alexander Rodchenko was the quintessential Mutable signed artist.  Not only was the man an innovative pioneer of never before tried artistic styles and techniques, the number of outlets in which the Sagittarian expressed himself creatively is nothing short of awe-rendering.

 

Rodchenko created critically acclaimed work in each of the following art forms:

Painting, Photography, Architecture, Graphic Design, Furniture Design, Sculpture, Photo Collage and Montage, Fashion Design, & Theatrical Costume Design

 

One would be hard pressed to find another individual throughout the History of Art who not only worked with such a wide variety of artistic mediums but was so prolific within each field of creative self-expression.  Rodchenko’s masterful versatility as a working artist is unmatched and still serves as a source of creative inspiration right through to the present day.

 

Alexander Rodchenko Books in all Branches of Knowledge 1924

Alexander Rodchenko Franz Ferdinand

 

Rodchenko was a pioneer in the art form of graphic design.  Applying his Uranian influenced egalitarian artistry to the realm of advertising, one of his most well-known works is an add he created in 1924 for a publishing company simply titled “Books” . The add shows a peasant woman exclaiming aloud “Books in All Branches of Knowledge!”. Eighty-one years later in 2005 Rodchenko’s imagery was once again used as a selling point, this time for the Scottish inde rock band Franz Ferdinand for the cover of their album, “You Could Have It So Much Better”. 

 

 

In Part II of this series Rodchenko’s art along with his natal chart are analyzed in detail as they both relate to the shortly lived modernist movement in which he established himself as one of its foundational artists – the “Russian Avant-Garde”.

 

 

Brad Kronen’s 12 book astrological dating series tailor made for each individual sign of the Zodiac “Love in the Stars” is available for purchase on either Kindle or paperback on Amazon.com.

Link to Brad Kronen’s astrological dating series “Love in the Stars” on amazon.com

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