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Wassily Kandinsky (third from right) and other members of the INKhUK, Moscow, c1920.
Signatures of the Working Group of Constructivists of the INKhUK (meeting of 20 April 1921): Medunetsky, G. Stenberg, Ioganson, Gan, Rodchenko, V. Stenberg, Stepanova.

Institut Khudozhestvennoi Kulturi (INKhUK) (Institute of Artistic Culture, 1920–24) was an artistic organization, a creative society of painters, graphic artists, sculptors, architects, and art scholars. The institute was set up in Moscow in March 1920 as a section of IZO Narkompros (the Department of Visual Arts of the People’s Commissariat for Education) to determine the course of artistic experiment in post-Revolutionary Russia. INKhUK had its own regulations and program.

INKhUK repeatedly changed its general orientation, organizational structure, membership, and leadership. It maintained close ties with a number of other creative, educational, and research organizations, such as the VkHUTEMAS and LEF. INKhUK was a discussion club and theoretical center.

Its first director was Kandinsky. Further sections were formed in Petrograd under Tatlin and in Vitebsk under Malevich. The program of INKhUK was initially influenced by the leftist trends in art (for example, abstract art). In accordance with Kandinsky’s program of 1920, artists affiliated with INKhUK studied the formal devices in various types of art (for example, music, painting, and sculpture) and the uniqueness of their influence upon the viewer.

Kandinsky's ideals soon proved uncongenial to the more widespread desire to create an art suitable for a Communist utopia. After Kandinsky was voted out of office in the late 1920, two different programmes emerged. ‘Laboratory art’ involved a rationalizing, analytical approach often using traditional artistic materials (such as paint and canvas); ‘production art’ placed the emphasis more on designers and craftsmen working for machine production, striving to apply the results of their artistic experiments to daily practical activities. The latter group proved the more influential of the two, contributing to the development of Constructivism. [1]

In 1921, the LEF program was developed in INKhUK, and attention was focused upon finding a theoretical solution to the problems of constructivism and production art. Under the auspices of INKhUK, experimental work in artistic design was conducted, and educational programs were organized at VkHUTEMAS.

During their affiliation with INKhUK the leaders of the two most important schools of Soviet architecture in the 1920s, Nikolai Ladovsky and Alexander Vesnin, developed their views on art. In addition, the first working groups were organized in INKhUK, which later became the Association of New Architects and the Organization of Contemporary Architects. Among the artists active in INKhUK were B. I. Arvatov, A. V. Babichev, Brik, Lissitzky, Popova, Rodchenko, and Stepanova.

In 1923, an institute similar in character was organized in Leningrad, the State Institute of Artistic Culture.

In 1923 the work in the Institute began to stagnate. During 1923 and 1924 the institute experienced a lack of public support and gradually disintegrated.


  • Christina Lodder, "INKhUK: The Institute of Artistic Culture", in Lodder, Russian Constructivism, Yale University Press, 1983, pp 78-83. (English)
  • Selim O. Khan-Magomedov, Rodchenko: The Complete Work, MIT Press, 1986, pp 55ff. (English)

See also