“Power and Architecture” at Calvert 22 Foundation

Power and Architecture, the upcoming summer programme at Calvert 22, will comprise four main interlinked elements: a conference plus related talks, an exhibition of new and existing artwork presented in four parts, a series of architectural workshops connecting London and Prague, and curated digital content on The Calvert Journal.

 

Anton Ginzburg, Hyperborea 20, still from HD video, 45 minutes

Anton Ginzburg, Hyperborea 20, still from HD video, 45 minutes

 

For the ideological champions of utopian society, architecture is a clear and potent manifestation of a society’s power, influence and status. From the gothic might of Stalin’s seven Vysotki to Astana’s gleaming Bayterek Tower, giant structures loom over the citizens of the former Soviet Union, signifying the grand ambitions of their rulers, past and present.Power and Architecture: on utopian public space and the quest for new national identities across the post-Soviet world”  is a season that will explore the design of the built environment and its use as a device of influence, both physically characterising the skyline, and psychologically in relation to the people who live in its shadow.


 

Practical information

“Power and Architecture”
10 June – 9 October 2016
Calvert 22 Foundation
22 Calvert Avenue
London
UK

 


Across the post-Soviet world, there is a common thread running through architectural styles. From grand monuments and high-rise cathedrals of geometric correctness to homogenised concrete blocks, repetitious and standardised landmarks to public art, we see the echoes of space designed with the futuristic ideologies of socialism, transitioned into the globalised hegemony of capitalism.

 

Anton Ginzburg, Walking the Sea 5, still from HD video, 30 minutes

Anton Ginzburg, Walking the Sea 5, still from HD video, 30 minutes

Anton Ginzburg, Hyperborea 36, still from HD video, 45 minutes

Anton Ginzburg, Hyperborea 36, still from HD video, 45 minutes

 

What effect do these architectural structures, designed by one regime and inherited by another, have on the people who live with their legacy? How is public space redefined through external forces such as privatisation and capitalism, or re-used through independent culture and recreation? Power and Architecture will seek to answer these questions, looking at the evolution of the relationship between cities, public space and their citizens throughout contrasting eras.

 

Danila Tkatchenko, 18. Headquarters of Communist Party. Bulgaria, Yugoiztochen region, 2015, from the Restricted Areas series, courtesy of the artist

Danila Tkatchenko, 18. Headquarters of Communist Party. Bulgaria, Yugoiztochen region, 2015, from the Restricted Areas series

Dmitry Lookianov, Instant Tomorrow (2013-15) courtesy of the artist (1)

Dmitry Lookianov, Instant Tomorrow (2013-15)

 

CONFERENCE: THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD?
10 — 11 June 2016

Led by Michał Murawski and Jonathan Bach from UCL’s FRINGE research centre, the two-day conference will look at the aesthetics, politics, economics and effects of centrality and monumentality in 20th century cities. The line-up includes contributions from prominent researchers, architects and artists such as Vladimir Papeny, Vyjayanthi Rao, Owen Hatherley, Clementine Cecil, Hilary Wainwright, Łukasz Stanek and Wendy Pullan, among many others. The conference will officially launch the 12 week season of events exploring the debates and questions raised by Power and Architecture.

 

Dmitry Lookianov, Instant Tomorrow (2013-15) courtesy of the artist (5)

Dmitry Lookianov, Instant Tomorrow (2013-15)

Ogino Knauss, Novi Beograd, image credit, Manuela Conti, Ogino Knauss, 2016

Ogino Knauss, Novi Beograd, image credit, Manuela Conti, Ogino Knauss, 2016

 

THE 4 PART EXHIBITION
Work by artists from across the New East region will be exhibited over four interconnected installments. Multiple facets of architecture’s relationship to power will be present, from artistic reflections on the modernist vision of the socialist city to the individual’s participation in the activation of public space and the afterlife of cities build for a utopia that was never realised.

 

Eric Lusito, Private Photograph Printed from abandoned black and white roll film found inside a Soviet military base, from Traces of the Soviet Empire series, 2009

Eric Lusito, Private Photograph Printed from abandoned black and white roll film found inside a Soviet military base, from Traces of the Soviet Empire series, 2009

Eric Lusito, Poster I serve the Soviet Union, from Traces of the Soviet Empire series, 2009

Eric Lusito, Poster I serve the Soviet Union, from Traces of the Soviet Empire series, 2009

 

Part 1: Utopia and Modernity
12 June — 3 July 2016

Four artists will reflect on the modernist vision of the socialist city and consider the real and imagined futures of utopia. Przemek Pyszczek’s series Façade captures the bright, block-colour decorative Soviet- era design of external walls and windows grates. Dmitry Lookianov’s Instant Tomorrow series provides a vision of the near future through the setting of Muscovite apartment life. In his films Hyperborea and Walking the Sea, Anton Ginzburg explores the quest for a perfect, utopian life and its potentially devasta ting impact. Kuba Snopek, Iza Cichońska and Karolina Popera’s Architecture of the VII Day catalogue draws upon 3,597 churches built by hand in Poland against the will of the state in the second half of the 20th Century.

 

Kuba Snopek Isa Cichonska and Karolina Popera, The Church of Our Lady the Queen of Poland from Architecture of the VII Day, 2015, still image

Kuba Snopek Isa Cichonska and Karolina Popera, The Church of Our Lady the Queen of Poland from Architecture of the VII Day, 2015, still image

Anton Ginzburg, Hyperborea 48, still from HD video, 45 minutes

Anton Ginzburg, Hyperborea 48, still from HD video, 45 minutes

Dmitry Lookianov, Instant Tomorrow (2013-15) courtesy of the artist (10)

Dmitry Lookianov, Instant Tomorrow (2013-15)

 

Part 2: Dead space and ruins
7 July – 7 August 2016

Three photographers present the decaying architectural reminiscence of the Soviet vision. With work taking inspiration from across the vast landscape of the former Soviet Union, these artists will explore the “dead space” left in the wake of the quest for progress. Participating artists: Vahram Aghasyan, Anton Ginzburg, Eric Lusito and Danila Tkachenko.

 

Danila Tkachenko, Memorial on a deserted nuclear station. Russia, Voronezh region, 2015.  Courtesy of the artist

Danila Tkachenko, Memorial on a deserted nuclear station. Russia, Voronezh region, 2015.

Vahram Agasian, from the Ghost City Series 4, 2005-2007, manipulated photo.jpeg

Vahram Agasian, from the Ghost City Series 4, 2005-2007, manipulated photo

Eric Lusito, Mig-21, 126th Fighter Aviation Regiment, Mongolia, from Traces of the Soviet Empire series, 2009

Eric Lusito, Mig-21, 126th Fighter Aviation Regiment, Mongolia, from Traces of the Soviet Empire series, 2009

 

Part 3: Citizen activated space – Museum of Skateboarding
11 August – 11 September 2016

Part three explores the individual’s participation in the activation of public space with Russian artist Kirill Savchenkov’s installation. Museum of Skateboarding is a mixed media installation that considers skateboarding not just as a form of exercise, but also as a visceral way to explore and reflect on the post-Soviet residential suburbs of Moscow. The project studies the secret language of the sport, illustrating how certain architectural interventions or objects can be understood through skateboarding.

 

Kirill Savchankov, Museum of Skateboarding 1, 2015, still image

Kirill Savchankov, Museum of Skateboarding 1, 2015, still image

Kirill Savchankov, Museum of Skateboarding 5, 2015, still image

Kirill Savchankov, Museum of Skateboarding 5, 2015, still image

Kirill Savchankov, Museum of Skateboarding 6, 2015, still image

Kirill Savchankov, Museum of Skateboarding 6, 2015, still image

 

Part 4: The afterlives of Modernity — shared values and routines
15 September – 9 October 2016

The season culminates with four artists considering the afterlives of utopian endeavour and the quest for new national identities. Across the former Soviet Union there are a series of architectural and physical nostalgias connecting citizens who share the same socialist history – part four of the programme reflects on these shared values and routines for citizens today. Participating artists: Aikaterini Gegisian, Donald Weber, Dmytrij Wulffius, Ogino Knauss.

 

Ogino Knauss, Moscow, 2, image credit_ Manuela Conti - Ogino Knauss, 2016

Ogino Knauss, Moscow, 2 © Manuela Conti – Ogino Knauss, 2016

Aikaterini Gegisian, Red Line, photo collage (2015) Courtesy of Kalfayan Galleries

Aikaterini Gegisian, Red Line, photo collage (2015) © Kalfayan Galleries

 

The Power and Architecture season reaches its conclusion as the Calvert 22 Foundation partners with  Assemble (UK), Museum of Architecture (UK) and reSITE (CZ) for a series of workshops that will offer fresh perspectives and solutions that will improve the urban experience and highlight civic issues affecting mobility health and wellbeing. Also, as part of the  season, The Calvert Journal will present a curated online series of reports, essays and photo stories which will further explore the relationship between architecture and power, expanding on a number of the themes and artistic projects included in the seasonal programme .


 

News source: Calvert 22 Foundation
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