Building the Revolution
A news report from BarcelonaCaixaForum Barcelona hosts an exhibition of Soviet art and architecture from the 1920s and 30s
Published on 10th of March 2011
"Building the Revolution. Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935" illustrates one of the most exceptional periods in the history of architecture and the visual arts, one that is reflected in the engagement of such constructivist artists as Lyubov Popova, Alexander Rodchenko and Kazimir Malevich and Russian architects like Konstantin Melnikov, Moisei Ginzburg and Alexander Vesnin, as well as the European architects Le Corbusier and Mendelsohn. The exhibition features some 230 works, including models, artworks (paintings and drawings) and photographs, featuring both vintage prints from the 1920s and 30s and contemporary images by the British photographer Richard Pare. The exhibition "Building the Revolution. Soviet Art and Architecture, 1915-1935" explores a period that is decisive for any understanding our culture today, and it does so through the most complete review ever made of Russian avantgarde art and architecture.
The architecture of the Soviet Revolution is based on ideas of functionality, economy and efficiency fused with creativity and formal daring. As such, Soviet architecture became a model for architects of the modern movement and can still provide a reference for today's designers, faced as they are by the challenge of making maximum use of the available resources to the benefit of the community. The exhibition places particular emphasis on the way in which fine artists and architects joined together under the Bolshevik cause in a period marked by radical departures in art. However, after the institutionalisation of so-called Socialist Realism as the official style imposed by the new Stalinist regime, these artists were considered "undesirables" and their works were sent to the provinces. In this context, the exhibition also reflects on what remains from all that, nearly a century later.
The exhibition, then, focuses on one of the most exceptional periods in the history of architecture, from the October Revolution to the founding of the USSR. Organised by the Royal Academy of Arts of London in cooperation with Fundació "la Caixa" and the SMCA-Costakis Collection of Thessaloniki, Building the Revolution. Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935 is based on an exhibition produced at SMCA Thessaloniki. Its curators are: MaryAnne Stevens, Royal Academy of Arts (London), and Maria Tsantsanoglou, State Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki), in cooperation with Richard Pare.
"Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935" forms part of the 2011 Dual Year Programme from Spain to Russia and from Russia to Spain.