«Optical excavation» of Leningrad constructivism

Michail Karasik is one of the few artists working in the genre livre d’artist, and he can be rightly called the leader if this movement. One of his most interesting projects is the book called «Leningrad architectural constructivism: Palaces of Culture, factory-kitchens, baths and others». In this book artist restores images visually familiar to every citizen of St Petersburg monuments of architectural constructivism of 1930s. Here artist reflects on architectural images of constructivism. Palaces of culture, factory-kitchens, baths… The contrast and the expressiveness of halftone photographic reproductions and deep color pads… Artist assembles two different angles of one building in one plane, flip and rotate them.Image

Constructivism as an architectural movement is unique. Emerged in the 1920s, it was the personification of reigning ideology of the proletariat and collectivism and global incarnation of the actual Avant-guard art. Constructivism presented to modern design angles in furniture, conciseness, austerity and simplicity of the lines, rectangular rhythms, geometrization of space, clarity and uniqueness of constructures. Works of architectural constructivism were intentionally created from perishable materials and played the role of full-size projects. Nobody from the architects hoped for more than twenty years. They did not designed concrete buildings, they created the methodology of creation of social behavior and collective life in general. Method of the construction sought not only to educate the new man in terms of collective work, leisure and mode of life, but also to change the visual appearance of Leningrad



Generation of twenty-years old people does not have an idea about the atmosphere of those years and often does not know, what were factory-kitchens and communal houses. Architecture is the mirror of the processes taking place in society. It is inextricably linked with the time and place and reflects the aspirations, hopes and experiences of modern people. So, constructivism, on the one hand, built a new present, and, on the other, designed the future. This phenomenon is one of the few, the emergence of which Russia can boast. Unfortunately, today architectural monuments of constructivism are in decline, gradually die off and destroyed. In St Petersburg they can literally be counted on the fingers. And this book is the result of optical archeology and vivid documentary evidence of naïve disappointments and utopian expectations to build a typical happy life through the collective kitchens, baths and flats and “socialization” of work, life and leisure.





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