Author: Danilo Udovički-Selb
Category: Apartment houses
"The Narkomfin is more than a housing building. It is the converging point of the history of Constructivism.
Author: Danilo Udovički-Selb
Publisher: Ernst Wasmuth Verlag
Category: Apartment houses
The House of the Narkomfin was built, or better, "montage" - as the Constructivist Moisej J. Ginzburg (1986-1946) preferred to call it - between 1928 and 1931. It is therefore contemporaneous with Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, as well as with Le Corbusier's visit to Moscow. On a superficial level, they both share a common aesthetic that in France was nicknamed "le style paquebot," while the Narkomfin was soon called the "The Steamer," or even the "Agit-Steamer" in a symbolic reference to the boats of the Agit-Prop movement that carried the message of the Revolution along the rivers of the Soviet Union.On a deeper level, the Narkomfin is more than a housing block with a recognizable style. It is the converging point of the history of Constructivism. It is the most sophisticated expression of a "social condenser," in Ginzburg's words, where purposefully reassembled functional spaces are given an active role in transforming everyday social life. Echoing the Russian Formalist method of analytic editing, like the cinematic "montage of attractions" - to use Eisenstein's expression - it stems from reconfigured semantic series of the notion of traditional abode, intended to transform everyday life - the "byt." In this sense, the Narkomfin - a building without precedent - is more than a symbol; it is, in a nutshell, the very program of Constructivism. It is also the zenith of five years of intensive experimentation under Soviet Russian government sponsorship, from 1926 and 1930, with new ways of dwelling, boasting emancipatory social relationships for women in particular.Intended for the working class, these industrialized dwelling types sought ways to raise numbers without sacrificing quality. Widely transcending the confines of Soviet architectural practice itself, the Narkomfin anticipated by twenty years Le Corbusier's own experimental housing block in Marseille, which resulted directly from his visit to Moscow in 1928. The Narkomfin was also the last building Ginzburg's Society of Contemporary Architects (OSA) built with its team of brilliant young professionals, trained at the VHUTEMAS (the Soviet 'BAUHAUS'), Mihail Baršč in the first place. The 1930 Bolshevik Central Committee decree condemned the experimentation as "phantasies that would alienate people from the very idea of Socialism." The effort was now seen, under Stalin's "Revolution from above," as diverting resources from the main goal of the 1928 Five-Year-Plan, aimed exclusively at rapid industrialization of the country. "Temporary" wooden barracks, lacking essential living amenities, supplanted in a permanent way OSA's innovative drive for affordable ways to raise the living standards of all, eliminating in the first the plague of shared apartments. Ginzburg's resistance to the new trend, known as Socialist Realism, resulted however as late as 1938, in a sanatorium at Kislovodsk (the Caucasus) with front façades designed in the "Novecento" style to elude censorship. Hidden behind the sanatorium's main façades - the only likely to be photographed - were tangible quotations of Le Corbusier's, Mies van der Rohe's, and Gropius' architecture, including fragments of his own Narkomfin.
... author of seminal works on european Modernism and Russian post-october
Revolution art and architecture that include an edited book Narkomfin: Moscow
1928–1930: Moisej J. Ginzburg, Ignatij F. Milinis (Berlin: ernst Wasmuth, 2014); “
Author: Rika Devos
This book investigates architecture as a form of diplomacy in the context of the Second World War at six major European international and national expositions that took place between 1937 and 1959. The volume gives a fascinating account of architecture assuming the role of the carrier of war-related messages, some of them camouflaged while others quite frank. The famous standoffs between the Stalinist Russia and the Nazi Germany in Paris 1937, or the juxtaposition of the USSR and USA pavilions in Brussels 1958, are examples of very explicit shows of force. The book also discusses some less known - and more subtle - messages, revealed through an examination of several additional pavilions in both Paris and Brussels; of a series of expositions in Moscow; of the Universal Exhibition in Rome that was planned to open in 1942; and of London’s South Bank Exposition of 1951: all of them related, in one way or another, to either an anticipation of the global war or to its horrific aftermaths. A brief discussion of three pre-World War II American expositions that are reviewed in the Epilogue supports this point. It indicates a significant difference in the attitude of American exposition commissioners, who were less attuned to the looming war than their European counterparts. The book provides a novel assessment of modern architecture’s involvement with national representation. Whether in the service of Fascist Italy or of Imperial Japan, of Republican Spain or of the post-war Franquista regime, of the French Popular Front or of socialist Yugoslavia, of the arising FRG or of capitalist USA, of Stalinist Russia or of post-colonial Britain, exposition architecture during the period in question was driven by a deep faith in its ability to represent ideology. The book argues that this widespread confidence in architecture’s ability to act as a propaganda tool was one of the reasons why Modernist architecture lent itself to the service of such different masters.
Catalog of an exhibition held May 16 to August 17, 2003 at the Generali Foundation, Vienna.
Author: Allan Sekula
Category: Performance art
Catalog of an exhibition held May 16 to August 17, 2003.
Author: Anna Blume
Text by Nikola Dietrich, Jacob Lillemose, Kassandra Nakas.
Author: Ayşe Erkmen
Publisher: Hatje Cantz Publishers
Category: Art, Modern
This exhibition catalogue features Ayse Erkmen, Ceal Floyer and David Lamelas. Erkmen's installations interpret socially and historically implicit architecture, while Floyer's light projections, videos, photographs and sculptures seem to lack underlying themes. Since the 60s, Lamelas has explored the hybrid character of the exhibition venue."
Author: Albert Oehlen
Category: Painting, German