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About “The City of Tomorrow”

The City of Tomorrow
© Goethe-Institut Moscow, photo by Sergey Kuzmin

“The City of Tomorrow” presents the evolution of Soviet modernist architectural heritage from its genesis in the 1920s and its revival from the late 1950s through to the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as this patrimony’s patchwork survival in the former republics of the Soviet empire today. Sometimes as decaying ruin, other times as an adaptive re-use project, this legacy — with its own masters, local dialects, and unsung masterpieces — tells a story that was afflicted by inner contradictions and idiosyncrasy, much as it developed within a seemingly homogenized space. “The City of Tomorrow” explores this landscape and its expansive reshaping at the hands of an architectural culture that sought to build a fundamentally different idea of society than the neoliberal order many Soviet successor states face today.

“The City of Tomorrow” shows alternative blueprints for a radically new urban environment and its socially orientated potential, as well as suppressive and colonial aspects, and the deep entanglement of Soviet architecture with the universal project of international modernism, in particular with leading architects from the Bauhaus school in Germany and Ernst May who traveled across the USSR in the 1930s with his Brigade of architects.

The exhibition consists of two parts. A travelling core exhibition that unfolds the general story of the almost hundred years of evolution of the modernist visons and practices in Soviet architecture, from early avant-garde to their decline and transition to the architecture of Soviet postmodernity. It describes German/Soviet cooperation and debates in the late 1920s and early 1930s, with a focus on the republics and the peripheries and the architecture that emerged from this dialogue throughout the whole period of pre- and post-war Soviet modernism. Specific themes of the exhibitions follow the traces of the implemented principles and ideas. The presentation is organized around the typologies of new buildings that have structured Soviet urbanism. An urbanism that has a complex regional afterlife through the end of the Soviet Union, and the current state of this heritage. 

The second part of the exhibition focuses on the histories and contexts of the cities and regions where the exhibition takes place. Besides bringing in stories about local modernist contexts that were not given the chance to become part of the official Soviet canon of architecture, these local extensions highlight the current situation and public apprehension of the Soviet modernist heritage. These extensions present unique original materials collected and provided by local public and private archives, often shown for the first time in public.

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Project organizer:
Goethe-Institut

In Collaboration with:
Tranzit.at

Curators: Ruben Arevshatyan, Anna Kats, Georg Schöllhammer

Researchers: Ivan Atapin, Mark Akopyan, Boris Chukhovich, Tatyana Efrussi, Nikolay Erofeev, Irina Gorlova (STG), Anton Karmanov (curator of the local extension of the exhibition in Novosibirsk), Olga Kazakova, Arseny Toskin, Dmitriy Zadorin (curator of the local extension of the exhibition in Minsk)

Exhibition layout and graphic design: Future Anecdotes Istanbul; Can and Asli Altay; Project team: Selin Karci and Selen Konuk

Project Coordinators: Larissa Agel and Michaela Geboltsberger (transit.at), Per Brandt, Anna Morosowa and Michail Kazantsev (Goethe-Institut Nowosibirsk), Vera Dziadok (Goethe-Institute Minsk), Serafima Gerasimova (Moscow and Novosibirsk exhibition), Natia Mikeladse-Bachsoliani (Goethe-Zentrum Yerevan), Barbara von Münchhausen and Tamar Muskhelishvili (Goethe-Institut Tbilisi), Julia Smirnova (STG), Astrid Wege and Ivan Uspenskij (Goethe-Institut Moscow)

Project partners: A.V. Schusev State Architecture Museum, Moscow; Al. Tamanyan National Museum-Institute of Architecture (Yerevan Exhibition); All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK); archive of the NER group; Art Belarus Gallery (Minsk Exhibition); Balandin Museum of the History of Architecture of Siberia at Novosibirsk State Univeristy of Architecture, Design and Arts; Center for Culture CC19 (Novosibirsk exhibition); ERSTE Foundation (main partner of Transit.at); Integral Museum of Everyday Life of Akademgorodok, Novosibirsk; the Institute of Modernism, Moscow; MARKhI Moscow Architecture Institute and Museum; National Archive of Armenia; State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow exhibition), Tatlin Publishing House, Ekaterinburg; GAUK TO "Tyumen Museum and Educational Association".

The exhibition uses materials from the following  archives:
A.V. Shusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow; Al. Tamanyan National Museum-Institute of Architecture; All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK); Archive of the Institute of Architecture and Construction of Kaunas; Archives of Omskgrazhdanproject Design Institute; Archives of the Omsk Philharmonic Society; ArmProject Institute (Yerevan); Balandin Museum of the History of Architecture of Siberia at Novosibirsk State Univeristy of Architecture, Design and Arts; Bauhaus Archive, Berlin; Central State Archive of Lithuania; Charitable Foundation for the Development of Architecture named after Chmutina (Kiev); Forma Architects, Kiev; German Museum of Architecture, Frankfurt; History Archives of the Omsk Region; Institute of Modernism, Moscow; Integral Museum of Everyday Life of Akademgorodok, Novosibirsk; Kondratyuk Museum of Novosibirsk; Krasnaya Gorka Preserve Museum, Kemerovo; Krasnoyarsk Krai Local Lore Museum; MARKhI Moscow Architecture Institute and Museum; Museum of Estonian Architecture; Museum of history of Gorky Automobile Plant, Nizhny Novgorod; National Archives of Armenia; Museum of Architecture and Design of the Ural State University of Architecture and Art, Yekaterinburg; Museum of the House of Scientists, Krasnoobsk; Novokuznetsk Local History Museum; Novosibirsk City Archives; Novosibirsk State Local Lore Museum; NovosibirskTelefilm; Ploshchad Mira Museum Centre, Krasnoyarsk;  Shchusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow; State Archives of the Sverdlovsk Region; State History Museum, Moscow; State Film Fund of Russia; TATLIN publishing house, Ekaterinburg; Tomsk branch of the Union of Architects; TUŞPA, Vilnius County Archive; GAUK TO "Tyumen Museum and Educational Association"; Visual Culture Research Center, Kiev; Vrubel Omsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts; Konstantin Antipin, Levan Asabashvili, Ivan Atapin, Vladimir Avksentyuk, Yuri Avvakumov, Andrey Chernov, Sergey Chertkov, Vasil Babayan, Orozbek Baigodzhoev, Alexander Barkov, Tatyana Belyaeva, Eduard Bilsky, Alexander Burlak, Alexei Bykov, Levon Cherkezyan, Vakhtang Davitaia, David Demirkhanov, Irina Devyatyarova, Ulan Dzhaparov, Anatoly Dobrovolsky, Ülevi Eljand, Valery Filippov, Sergey Filonov, Yefim Freydin, Lyubov Fuks, Ildar Galeev, Irina Golenko, Sergey Grebennikov, Artsvin Grigoryan, Marc Grigoryan, Alexander Gutnov and Maria Panteleeva (archive of the NER group), Svetlana Izotenko, Rafael Israelyan, Anton Karmanov, Zhanna Khakhayeva, Sergey Khudyakov, Saken Khusainov, Levan Kiknadze, Alexander Klimov, Marina Kolpakova, Kaarel Kurismaa, Andrey Kuznetsov, Ksenia Kuzmina, Vilen Künnapu, Oleg Lazarev, Boris Lerman, Igor Loshchilov, Alexander Lozhkin, Hovhannes Margaryan, Mikael Mazmanyan, Vladimir Melnichenko, Zhanna Meshcheryakova, Anton Metelkov, Sergey  Mityushov, Vyacheslav Mizin, Ruslan Muradov, Saken Narynov, Viktor Novikov, Felix Novikov, Mikhail Pirogov, Yulia Pirogova, Grachik Pogosyan, Elena Polskaya,  Igor Popovsky, Pavel Rachkovsky, Oleksiy Radinsky, Romualdas Rakauskas, Katarina Roters, Andrey Sergeev, Ivan Shalmin, Anton Shatalov, Givi Shavdia, Vladimir Shevchenko, Yegor Shulyk, Valentin Shtolko, Gennady Skuratov, Elena Skuratova, Leonid Smirnov, Praskovya Smyshlyaeva, Larisa Sukhova, Sergo Sutyagin, Arthur Tarkhanyan, Martin Tovmasyan, Gennady Tumanik, Igor Vasilievsky, Marcus Vaysbek, Vladimir Vesnin, Rafik Yegoyan, Boris Zakharov, Irina Zakharova, Ekaterina Zhuravleva, Evgeny Zykov; Vahram Agasyan, Nini Palavandishvili, Lali Pertenava and Joanna Varsha, project "Frozen moments. Architecture is Responsible", Tbilisi; research group "Modernism - Tolyatti"; research group "Modernism - Ulyanovsk"

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