Thursday, May 17, 2007


This is the great thing about photography, I guess the arts in general, to find other people in your field who you have never heard of, but are out there doing amazing projects. Whether they are self initiated or assignment work, it gives us all hope that some project will come our way and just blow our socks off. I have just seen the current exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC and this is such a project. Shot by French man Frederic Chaubin, editor of the magazine Citizen K, he has discovered architectural relics from Soviet Union and they are really something special. These gems, hidden from the Western world since their inception, reveal what architects at the time in the CCCP saw as, I would assume, modern. In comparison to the rest of the world it was either completely ahead of the pack or light years behind, depending on your taste. An Arcihitect I know said Druzhba(above) looks like something being built in Dubai right now, without the height, but considering most of the buildings in the show were finished in the mid 1980's where does that leave you. The resounding theme was the Space Age but others like Brezhnev summer getaway has all the opulence of a Tsarist Palace inside, with the structure of a Soviet administration building. One thing that struck me was that three of the most outrageous buildings were sanatoriums, sick people need art and design too? or they just don't criticize. It made me look around my community, even somewhere as "modern"as NYC and I dare you to find any architecture there as adventurous for that time. The exhibit has a totalitarian look, keeping with the theme. I would not have gone with lamination of the prints, but its a great show, a study of a place lost in time, and of what can be achieved with absolutely no knowledge of whats going on in the outside world.

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