Russian Architecture Series: Off the beaten track

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Exhibition starts from the 3rd June till 5th September 2013 daily from 4pm till 7pm 

Wednesday 12th June 2013 Private view of the exhibition with introduction by Clem Cecil

Russian Art and Culture and Pushkin House London are pleased to present Abstraction/Constructivism: British and Russian Responses to the City, curated by Theodora Clarke and Anya Stonelake. Originally shown at London’s City Hall for Maslenitsa Festival 2013, the exhibition now moves to Pushkin House as part of the venue’s upcoming Russian Architecture Programme.

On display will be works by internationally renowned British photographer Richard Pare, who has been capturing striking images of architectural masterpieces across Russia for the last twenty years. His work shows a keen interest in historical buildings and Russian Constructivism, one of the key artistic movements of the twentieth century, and on show will be images of the famous ShabolovkaRadio Tower and Melnikov House. Presented alongside Pare’s photos will be works by Russian photographer Dmitry Konradt, whose first solo show opened at White Space Gallery London in 2012. Konradt’s Landscapeseries, a stunning documentation of his home city St Petersburg, will from a visual dialogue with Pare’s more architecturally focused compositions.

Although markedly different in style, both photographers trace the roots of Modernism through the dilapidated remains of the Russian architectural environment and in doing so manage to find the forgotten beauty and abstraction in the everyday. With abstract compositions that could almost be derived from Modernist paintings, both Pare and Konradt challenge conventional viewpoints of city buildings and reanimate their subjects with a dynamic combination of oblique angles, bold colours and shifting geometry. The result is a demonstration of the importance of the city landscape as a catalyst for creativity –both for the twentieth century Constructivist architects and today’s contemporary photographers– and a rare chance for to see some of Russia’s most impressive architectural creations.

Alongside the exhibition Pushkin House will be holding a series of related lectures and events. As part of the programme we are delighted to welcome Richard Pare, who will talk further about his experiences photographing the crumbling masterpieces of Russian architecture whilst on June 12th Clementine Cecil will speak on the Moscow Arts Preservation Society and on June 20th Sergey Nikitin will be tackling the theme of social urbanism. For a full listing of events CLICK HERE

Richard Pare was born in Portsmouth, England in 1948. He studied graphic design and photography at Winchester and Ravensbourne College of Art before receiving a Master of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1973. He began photographing buildings for the Canadian Centre for Architecture shortly after his graduation and eventually became the Centre’s curator for photography. His interest in Russian Modernist architecture stems from a lifelong fascination with Modernism and a chance encounter with an image of Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin constructing the Monument to the Third International. A trip to Moscow in the early 1990s sparked the beginning of Pare’s major project to document the crumbling and forgotten Modernist masterpieces of Russian architecture. Pare remains committed to the effort of preserving and documenting these buildings and bringing them to the attention of the world; to date he has taken around 15000 photos. Selected photos from this on-going project (now in its twentieth year) have been exhibited across the world from the Schusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow to New York’s MOMA, the Royal Academy in London and the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki.

Dmitry Konradt was born in 1954 in St Petersburg. Although he received no formal art training (he graduated from the Leningrad Geological Institute in 1976) he took up photography in the late 1970s and became renowned for his documentation of Leningrad’s underground culture.  In 1986 his attention turned towards the fabric of the city around him and he began working in colour to capture the abstract forms of the architectural environment. His landscape series provides an almost painterly documentation of the often decaying lost streets and courtyards of his native St Petersburg. Like Pare, the buildings and architectural spaces depicted in his work shed light on the condition of the Russian city landscape post 1990. His photographs have been shown in major Russian museums and galleries including: The State Russian Museum (St Petersburg), Nabokov Museum (St Petersburg), Moscow House of Photography, The Museum of The City Foundation (St Petersburg), The Free Culture Fund collection (St Petersburg) and the Borey Gallery (St Petersburg).