Leningrad Modernism. A view from the 21st century



08.07. – 15.08.2010

An exhibition at the Estonian architecture museum, Tallinn
The showing of exhibition is organized by Project Baltia magazine

Curator: Vladimir Frolov
Photographers: Alexander Gronsky, Marianna Jakobson, Vladimir Nikitin, Mikhail Sholk, Alexey Naroditsky, Alexander Lyashko, Andrey Chezhin, Igor Lebedev, Sami Hyrskylahti, Andrey Kuznetsov, Sergey Scherbakov, Alexander Belenky, Yuri Molodkovets, Vadim Yegorovsky, Sergey Sveshnikov, Dmitry Goryachev, Andrey Polushkin, Maria Sharafutdinova, Marina Romanova, Alexey Tikhonov
Previous showings of the exhibition: St Petersburg, 2006; Riga, 2008

This exhibition consists of images of structures built in Leningrad during the 1960s to 80s. The pictures have been taken by photographers of different ages and working in different styles. The curator’s idea was to draw attention to the architectural heritage of the so-called ‘Era of Stagnation’ and so prevent this heritage being erased or totally reconstructed as a result
of society or specialists failing properly to understand its historical and artistic value. The participants were asked to take photographs of the buildings in a way that would express their personal interpretation of, or attitude towards, late Soviet architecture. Due to the economic crisis and the contemporary fashion for Cold War aesthetics, these structures are now in less danger than they were four years ago, when the exhibition was created. However, the new trend for modernization also presents a danger, since it tends to treat these buildings’ facades as a blank page for a new design which erases the identity of genuine Modernism. That is exactly what has happened with Hotel Moscow (shown on one of the photographs at the exhibition): its façade has been totally transformed by one of today’s St Petersburg architects, causing serious damage to its architectural image. Citizens of Tallinn are invited to study the views of Modernism presented by 20 photographers and to reflect with them on the destiny of Soviet architecture on post-Soviet terrain.