October 29th sees the opening of a new exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. The show examines Russian avant-garde architecture made during a brief but intense period of design and construction that took place from c.1922 to 1935. Fired by the Constructivist art that emerged in Russia from c.1915, architects transformed this radical artistic language into three dimensions, creating structures whose innovative style embodied the energy and optimism of the new Soviet Socialist state.
The drive to forge a new Socialist society in Russia encouraged synthesis between radical art and architecture. This creative reciprocity was reflected in the engagement with architectural ideas and projects of such artists as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Liubov Popova, El Lizzitsky, Ivan Kluin and Gustav Klucis, and in designs by such architects as Konstantin Melnikov, Moisei Ginsburg, Ilia Golosov and the Vesnin brothers, as well as Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, European architects who were draughted in to help shape the new utopia.
The exhibition juxtaposes large-scale photographs of extant buildings with relevant Constructivist drawings and paintings, vintage photographs and periodicals. Many of the works have never been shown in the UK before.
The architectural photographer Richard Pare has spent the last 15 years documenting the current state of these iconic structures. In the accompanying exhibition catalogue his spectacular large-scale pictures are juxtaposed with vintage photographs, contemporary periodicals and numerous drawings and paintings by Constructivist artists such as Malevich, Tatlin, Popova and El Lissitsky. The book makes essential reading for all who are interested in the history of Russian art and architecture of this period.
Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with the SMCA-Costakis Collection, Thessaloniki, and with the participation of the Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, and Richard Pare.
A supporting exhibition in the Architecture Space (23 September – 29 January 2012) explores the conception, vision and symbolism of Tatlin’s Tower and uncovers the intriguing process undertaken for its special recreation at the Royal Academy.