Proun 8 Stellungen (Proun 8 Positions), c. 1923
oil and gouache with metal foil on canvas
139.3 x 139.3 cm diagonal
National Gallery of Canada (no. 17640)
© Estate of El Lissitsky / Bild-Kunst (Bonn) / SODRAC (Montréal)
Beginning in 1919, the Russian architect-painter El Lissitzky titled all his non-objective works Proun (pronounced “pro-oon”), an acronym for his utopian “Project for the Affirmation of the New.” His revolutionary ideas were expressed in the desire to dynamically unite art, design, architectural space, and the element of time. As suggested by its subtitle, this Proun may be hung in any of eight positions, four oriented horizontally, and four diagonally.