Dezeen Magazine

Critics' reactions to Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture, 1915-1935

Dezeen Wire:
 art and architecture critics have been offering their opinions on Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture, 1915-1935, an exhibition presenting the revolutionary imagery of communist Russia at the Royal Academy in London.

The Observer's architecture critic Rowan Moore explains that, although much of the architecture is fundamentally flawed, it had a lasting impact on subsequent creative movements and says "the buildings and paintings of the 1920s are presented to the Academy's bourgeois crowds as an interesting alternative to Degas' ballet dancers."

Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times also writes about the legacy of Constructivism, stating: "part of the fascination here is the juxtaposition of these pure compositions with contemporary images of the architecture they inspired," adding that the exhibition could offer a lesson on dynamic and memorable presentation to those with contemporary anti-capitalist views.

Art critic Judith Flanders reviews the show for The Arts Desk and says that while the exhibits are spectacular, there is a moral concern regarding the display of projects that glorify a Communist regime that was responsible for millions of deaths, suggesting that it takes "aesthetic objectivity too far."

In a preview in The Independent (see our previous story), architecture critic Jay Merrick claimed the exhibition re-energises the meaning of the word "revolution" in art and architecture, adding that it "is an irony-free zone, a laboratory containing some of the stark experiments that ignited the most radical movement that modernist art and architecture has ever known."

The exhibition continues at the Royal Academy until 22 January.


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