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Pare R. The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932. — New York, 2007

The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932 / Richard Pare; Foreword by Phyllis Lambert; Essay by Jean-Louis Cohen. — New  York : The Monacelli Press, 2007
 
 

The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932 / Richard Pare; Foreword by Phyllis Lambert; Essay by Jean-Louis Cohen. — New  York : The Monacelli Press, 2007. — 348 p., ill. — ISBN-13: 978-1-58093-185-4 ; ISBN-10: 1-58093-185-5

 
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32 examines Soviet avant-garde architecture in the postrevolutionary period. Although they are integral to the history of modern architecture, the featured projects have seldom been published and remain largely unknown. Examples of this avant-garde architecture abound, not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg but throughout the former U.S.S.R., in cities such as Kiev, Baku, Ivanovo, and Sochi. The exhibition highlights some eighty photographs by architectural photographer Richard Pare, who made eight extensive trips between 1992 and 2002, and created nearly ten thousand images to compile a timely documentation of these structures, many of which are now in various states of decay, transformation, and peril. Pare's images are supplemented by Soviet periodicals to provide historical context for an exploration of this extraordinary architecture.
 
 

Foreword

PHYLLIS LAMBERT

 
At long last we hove access to a corpus of images of architecture developed in the fervour of experimentation following the Russian Revolution. This volume presents on informed view of the brief period when the modernist vanguard projected a "new Russia." Over the last decade, Richard Pare has located and photographed many of the buildings that are still standing today, in some cases discovering formerly unknown structures. Jean-Louis Cohen initially identified these works, and his essay situates them in their historical context. Both photographer and historian make us aware of the perilous condition of the buildings due to disregard and neglect and alert us to the threat posed by the economic boom (a phenomenon that is never kind to architecture of the past) currently taking hold in many parts of the former Soviet Union.
 
Following World War II, the dynamic and inventive work of artists and architects such as El Lissitzky, Malevich, Tatlin, and Rodchenko (known chiefly from exhibition catalogues and European journals of the 1920s) inspired a generation of young architects around the world. As Cohen notes, rediscovery of the Russian avant-garde led to studies in Western Europe beginning in the 1960s. In the 1970s, a spate of exhibitions and publications in the United States, Canada, and England focused largely on Soviet constructivism coincided with preparations for the bicentennial celebration of the anniversary of the American Revolution—an event that raised questions about the symbolism and vitality of architecture produced following political revolutions and prompted comparisons with the U.S.S.R.
 
Richard Pare and I were working at the time on Court House: A Photographic Document (1978), a project I conceived and commissioned for the bicentennial to document a third of the three thousand county court houses erected as American settlements spread from the original thirteen states westward across the continent. These court houses had been fundamental in ordering a new territory: as archives, they housed and protected the property records that have always been of greatest concern, along with other legal documents and records; equally important, as houses of justice, they mediated the activities of daily life. The architectural expression of these important buildings, which were the embodiment of democracy in America, evolved over time. As Henry Russell-Hitchcock explained in Court House: "The question of what was appropriate for American public architecture, an architecture of democracy, remained very much an issue until the arrival of the Greek Revival, when the image of a Classical temple on a hill became strongly appealing since It seemed singularly appropriate historically, and closed the doors on the past."
 
The design language of the Soviet Union after the Revolution proposed a radically new syntax. The images that filled our eyes in the early 1970s were the drawings and models of fantastic monuments of the early 1920s; El Lissitsky's Lenin Tribune, Tatlin's Monument to the Third International, Melnikov's projects and pavilions, the constructions of the Sternbergs and Klutsis, Chernikov's architectural fantasies, and the vigorous theater sets by Popova and the Vesnins. Many of these proposals remained on paper and those that were constructed could not equal the power conveyed by their designers. This is patently evident, for example, in the contrast between Erich Mendelsohn's drawing for "Gostorg" and the as-built photograph published in his Russland, Europa, Amerika of 1929.
 
The buildings Pare tracked down and photographed in the former Soviet Union, like the American county court houses, were noteworthy manifestations of new public functions central to a new society. The revolutionary poet Vladimir Maiakovski considered socialist artists to be "organizers of life," Aleksandr Vesnin called for architecture to march in step with the builders of the new life, and for Moisei Ginzburg, architecture was to be transformed in the image of the socio-economic revolution. Factories, housing, and clubs for workers, together with palaces of culture and the necessary industrial infrastructure, predominated. Workers clubs provided spaces for education and entertainment near the workplace, and large communal housing projects were organized by trade. The workers settlement was not intended to be merely an appendage of the factory: the factory was to be the focus of communal life and would ensure the well-being of the settlement. Factories were conceived as part of the urban fabric along river-banks in Moscow, and at Kharkov, the State House for Industry gives a powerful focus to the new town plan.
 
With the refined intelligence and sensitivity that he brings to making images of the built world, Richard Pare has documented the buildings, choosing strategic points of view, capturing the urban setting, the telling detail, and when possible, the interior. Moisei Ginzburg's Narkomfin Communal House is a poignant example of Pare's approach. The first view ironically reveals in the distance one of the trademark Stalinist housing ziggurats seen through the skeletal remains of the penthouse of Ginzburg's rationalist masterpiece. After establishing the formal language of the building's exterior, Pare brings us to an expansive and cool (even if pinkish] view of the modernist interior of one abandoned apartment, followed by numerous smaller photographs evoking the warmth (even if it is painted blue) of a still-inhabited one. The various views accentuate, by capturing the arrangements of framed images on the walls and tchachkas on the sideboard, the sense of a distinctly Russian decor residing within the language of avant-garde internationalism. The last Images of Narkomfin include details and views of an interior street that Le Corbusier, seduced by the revolutionary organization of access to the apartments, referred to as "the street in the air."
 
Pare's curiosity and persistence led him up the steps of the now-empty concrete water tower in Ekaterinburg to explore its interior and to find the astoundingly progressive private face on the inner courtyard of MoGES, a striking contrast to its traditionally articulated facade stretching along the river, where the factory becomes part of the city. In a photograph of the Shabolovka Radio Tower, Pare's stance evokes the structure's supreme elegance and lightness by placing the roughly stuccoed enclosure wall in direct confrontation with it. In another instance, he emphasizes the fragility of the building in winter by capturing the somber quality of the light that shrouds the Chekist Communal House in Nizhni Novgorod (made even sadder by being abandoned}.
 
While Pare uses the panorama format to vividly establish the expanse of certain buildings bordering the Moskva River or the complexity of groupings within the city, the panoramas of interiors are breathtaking. The photograph of the spiral priming tunnel of the bakery in Khodynskaia Street in Moscow conveys Pare's admiration for what he calls "one of the most remarkable and enduring industrial structures of the constructivist period." The tension of the hexagonal windows that pierce the circular wall of Melnikov's studio is captured in the collision of Pore's two-frame panorama, only to be overcome by the serenity of the light that suffuses the room. The photograph is a love-poem from Richard Pare to Konstantin Melnikov, whose son he knew and whose house is a place he has worried over for years, at times raising modest amounts of money privately to secure the roof.
 
Pare conceived the project presented in this book as an outgrowth of his interest in the photography of the Russian avant-garde. With the support of the Canadion Centre for Architecture, whose unequaled collection he formed as curator of photographs, Pare undertook preliminary research and made an initial exploratory trip to Moscow in 1993. During several visits over the next decade, he photographed in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 1999, Pare worked in the Ukraine: Kiev, Kharkov, and Zaporozhe in the spring; then back to St. Petersburg and Moscow and onward to Ivanovo and Ekaterinburg, all in Russia, in the fall. In 2000, he was photographing in Baku In Azerbaijan, in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, and in the Crimean peninsula in the Ukraine. These campaigns resulted in an archive of 10,000 negatives from which he prepared the digital images published in this volume.
 
We are immensely grateful to Richard Pare for this extraordinary publication, which opens windows onto the substantially unknown architectural manifestations of a period characterized by unprecedented artistic, social, and cultural flights of imagination.
 

 

Contents

Foreword. PHYLLIS LAMBERT  6
Radical Relics: Architecture and the Politics of Modernization in Soviet Russia. JEAN-LOUIS COHEN  9
Looking for the Modernists. RICHARD PARE  25
The Lost Vanguard  33
Architect Biographies  336
Acknowledgments  344
Index of Architects and Buildings  346
 

 

Sample pages

 
The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932 / Richard Pare; Foreword by Phyllis Lambert; Essay by Jean-Louis Cohen. — New  York : The Monacelli Press, 2007
 
The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932 / Richard Pare; Foreword by Phyllis Lambert; Essay by Jean-Louis Cohen. — New  York : The Monacelli Press, 2007
 
The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932 / Richard Pare; Foreword by Phyllis Lambert; Essay by Jean-Louis Cohen. — New  York : The Monacelli Press, 2007
 
The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932 / Richard Pare; Foreword by Phyllis Lambert; Essay by Jean-Louis Cohen. — New  York : The Monacelli Press, 2007
 
The lost vanguard : Russian modernist architecture 1922–1932 / Richard Pare; Foreword by Phyllis Lambert; Essay by Jean-Louis Cohen. — New  York : The Monacelli Press, 2007
 

 

Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32

Photographs by Richard Pare

July 18–October 29, 2007

The Museum of Modern Art

Installation views

 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 
Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32. Photographs by Richard Pare. July 18–October 29, 2007. The Museum of Modern Art. Installation views
 

 

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