Igarka. Hommage to the architect Leonidov, 2007
c-print 90 x 150 cm
Courtesy of the artist
For this project Yuri Avvakumov flew over Igarka in a helicopter. The result is four high-tech photographs (three black and white, one in colour) that were pasted over aluminium coated by a half-centimetre acrylic layer.
Swarovski crystals have been set in the panel surfaces to create the effect of a twinkling starry sky. Curiously enough, the only colour photograph was taken using camera obscura.
Avvakumov's work is dedicated to well-known 20th-century 'paper' architect Ivan Leonidov, who came here to construct the town of Igarka in the 1930s. His plans remained on paper. Although Leonidov's name is associated with the 'opening' of Igarka and hopes for a radiant future, the authorities have now decided the town is economically unprofitable, that it is simpler to 'close' Igarka than assign resources for further maintenance.
Notwithstanding the 'crumbling' soil beneath their feet, Russians have always aimed for the stars. Like many of his contemporaries, Ivan Leonidov was fascinated by cosmic philosophy. It turns out that Yuri Avvakumov shares this interest. And despite Igarka's sorry state, the artist has envisioned a 'sky of diamonds' over the town and given his images cosmic dimensions.
Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, died on January 21st 1924. His body was embalmed the following day. On January 24th architect Alexei Schusev was given an assignment: he had three days to design and erect a temporary vault in Moscow’s Red Square, enabling the masses to bid farewell to the leader of the world proletariat.
Six months later Lenin’s body was transferred to a wooden mausoleum, which was replaced in 1930 by a stone structure of granite and marble. A sarcophagus designed by avant-garde architect Konstantin Melnikov rested on a pedestal of black labradorite in the centre of the chamber. The Resolution by the Triumvirate, assisted by Marshal Voroshilov, of November 13th 1924 on construction of a permanent Mausoleum defined the interior arrangement and outer appearance, stating that “the Mausoleum must be an imposing sight, a centre of attraction for all to see”.
The Lenin Mausoleum became a place of pilgrimage for Communists, the principal tribune of the new state and also the compositional centre of the Red Square ensemble.
After enduring for seventy years, the great empire of the Soviet Union abruptly ceased to exist in 1991, disintegrating like a set of dominos. But the mausoleum containing Lenin’s body continued to stand in Red Square as both historical relic and monument of architecture. Architectural monuments live on, not only in their construction materials or photographs and tourist souvenirs, but also in architectural models. The model of the Lenin Mausoleum in dominos and sparkling crystals should symbolise the eternal memory of the dead – “Dominus vobiscum!”, also serving as a reminder of the transient glory of any empire and an ‘imposing sight’ bequeathed to us by its Soviet founders.
1957 born in Tiraspol
1981 graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute
Lives and works in Moscow.
Selected Personal exhibitions:
2007 Games. Stella Art Foundation, Moscow, Russia
2006 Red Corner. Stella Art Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2005 La Scala. Krokin Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2000 MiSCeLLaNeouS. The Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russia
1996–2000 Russian Utopia: a Depository. Russian Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands; The Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
1994 1:43. Karlheinz Mey; State er Gallery, Karlsruhe, Germany
1992–93 Temporary Monuments. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; The Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russia
Selected group exhibitions:
2008 BORNHOUSE, XI International Exhibition of Architecture, Chiesa di San Stae, Venice
Tunguska Explosive. Krasnoyarsk Museum Center, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Persymphans. The Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russia
Discovery of Light. State Central Museum of Modern History of Russia, Moscow, Russia
2007 Kandinsky prize. Winzavod, Moscow, Russia
Barocco. Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia
Design of Siberia. 7th Museum Biennale, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
2006 Depository of Dreams. White Space Gallery, London, England
Artists Against the State: Perestroika Revisited. Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York, USA
2005 Essence of Life. Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary; State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
Re: modern. Kunstlerhaus, Vienna, Austria
Accomplices: Collective and Interactive Works in Russian Art of the 1960s–2000s. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2004 Critic’s Choice. Lodz Biennale, Lodz, Poland
Malign Muses. Mode Museum, Antwerp, Belgium
Imagine Limerick. City Gallery of Art, Limerick, Ireland
2003–04 Moscow-Berlin/Berlin-Moscow 1950–2000. Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany; State Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia
2003 Utopia Station. Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Form Specific. Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2001 Family Album: Brooklyn Collects. Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA
2000 Fifth Element–Art of Money. Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, Germany
View From Here. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
1997 Living Bridges. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
1996 Sensing the Future. Architect as Seismograph. VI International Exhibition of Architecture, Venice, Italy
The Archaeology of the Future City. Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Hiroshima Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Gifu Prefectural Museum, Gifu, Japan
Die kunst des fliegens. Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen, Germany
1995 Arte Russa. Villa Zorn, Sesto San Giovanni, Italy
Einblicke. Werkstatt Moskau II. Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany
1993–94 Aspects actuels de la mouvance construite internationale. Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Céramique de Verviers, Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image Imprimée, La Louvière, Belgium
1992 3rd International Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey
1991 Vision von raum. FIAC, Paris, France; Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, Germany
1990–91 Between Spring and Summer: Soviet Conceptual Art in the Era of Late Communism. Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA, USA
1990 Avantgarde 20/90. Manege, Moscow, Russia
In de USSR en erbuiten. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Construir! Fondation pour l’architecture, Brussels, Belgium
1989 Papierarchitekture. Neue projekte aus der Sowjetunion. Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Architecture et Utopie. Pavilion de l' Arsenal, Paris, France
Architecture and Imagination. De Tien van Fort Asperen, Leerdam, Netherlands
1988 Fantasy vs. Utopia. Palazzo dell'Arte, XVII Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy
1986 Paper Architecture. In Search of Identity. Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia
1982–83 Dolls House. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), London, GB