Richard Saltoun Gallery’s presentation at FIAC 2018 (Booth F02) celebrates the radical architectural tradition of Russia through the work of sculptor and architect Alexander BRODSKY and VKhUTEMAS, a specialised art school that emerged in Moscow in the 1920s. United by the notion of ‘paper architecture’, a term given to imaginative and visionary architecture realised only through drawings sculpture and photography, the exhibited works are presented in dialogue with one another, many shown to the public for the first time.
One of Russia’s most prominent artists, Alexander Brodsky emerged in the late 1970s together with his former collaborator Ilya Utkin as a key member of the ‘paper architects’ collective in Moscow, a genre of visionary architecture that emerged in response to the cultural restraint that engulfed architects within the Soviet Union at the time. Through the creation of fantastical yet unrealisable architectural designs, Brodsky’s work was a way of both bypassing and dissenting state restrictions, all the while radically blurring the lines between art and architecture. Working in multiple mediums, from etchings to clay sculptures, multi-media installations and pavilions, Brodsky critically analyses his own personal history as well as the social history of his native Russian. He represented Russia at the Architecture Biennale of Venice in 2006 and his work is held in major museums and collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; and Tate Modern, London, UK. Brodsky established his own architectural practice in Moscow in 2000 and was awarded the Kandinsky Prize in 2010.
Led by teachers including Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Tatlin, the VKhUTEMAS school, Russia’s equivalent to the German Bauhaus movement, was renowned for transforming the ways in which architecture and industrial design were taught, with training and experimentation taking place side by side. Numerous studies by the school’s students resulted in a rich repository of proto-modernist forms, which were methodically analysed and documented over the years. With very few surviving architectural models, only vintage photographs of the innovative projects conceived by the school’s anonymous students survive. The largest available collection of this rare historical material will be presented during FIAC 2018.