The theme for Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2019 is ‘Beauty Matters’. “Beauty is not a singular idea – its plurality prevails,” says the festival’s slogan. Together with her Estonian colleagues, Yael Reisner, the biennale’s London-based Israeli principal curator, is trying to bring architecture’s aesthetic categories up to date for the digitalized civilization of the beginning of the 21st century.
For its part, Vladimir Frolov’s Children of the Avant-garde project refers to an utterly specific aesthetic which was the starting point for the development of the Modernist culture of the 20th century and established processes of form formation which can be traced right up to the present day – in works by architects all over the world. The Avant-garde is especially important in Russia, where the titans of the movement – Malevich, Tatlin, Lissitzky, Leonidov – lived and created. This theme is also of no small importance for Estonia, where references to Soviet Constructivism can be seen not merely in the work of the Functionalists of the second quarter of the 20th century, but even more so in designs by 1970s and 1980s Postmodernists such as Leonhard Lapin, Vilen Künnapu, at al.
‘Children of the Avant-garde’ was created in 2016 as an exhibition at MOBAHAUS, the Swiss technology park in St Petersburg, involving artists, architects, and photographers. The exhibition’s ideological centre was a series of photographs by Dmitry Tsyrenshchikov (realized in collaboration with Vladimir Frolov) showing the magnificent buildings designed by Leningrad Constructivists in their current lamentable condition. Each photograph also includes models – young people absorbed in themselves and their gadgets. This series, which essentially illustrates the exhibition’s manifesto (projectbaltia.com/happenings-ru/10744), is repeated in Tallinn. The other elements in the exhibition are new. They are works by St Petersburg architects Pavel Kovalev, Andrey Voronov (both of ARCHATTACKA), and Stepan Liphart. This part of the exhibition consists of works of graphic art and a Suprematist installation (by Andrey Voronov).
The exhibition will open at 18.00 on the 12th of September. At 19.00 Vladimir Frolov, the exhibition’s curator, will talk about the current state of listed buildings from the 1920s in St Petersburg and share his thoughts on the aesthetic continuity of the 21st-century ‘aesthetic empire’ with its total (and for the most part extremely infantile) style (Supereclecticism) in relation to the legacy of 100 years ago, the heroic ‘age of the fathers’.
Entrance: free of charge
For more details, see: TAB-2019