Yuri Avvakumov

AvaakumovParticipated in the Venice Architectural Biennale (1996, 2003). His installation “Russian Utopia: Depositary” was shown in Venice, Rotterdam, Moscow, Volgograd and St. Petersburg. In 1984, introduced the term “paper architecture” to describe a genre of conceptual design in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Included in the collections of the Tretyakov, the Russian Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), among others.

Yuri Avvakumov can be called a palaeontologist of the Russian architectural avant-garde. The artist has spent decades collecting and assembling the architectural utopias envisioned by artists of the 1910s and ’20s, from Malevich to Leonidov. He painstakingly fits them together, vertebra to vertebra and rib upon rib, adjusting each turret, flight of stairs, and column. His models of well-known, unrealized buildings are fragile, tender and ephemeral, like itself. Jupiter’s Tomb is the plan for a monument dedicated to Malevich to be built in Barvikha, near Moscow. Dubbed an “architecton” after Malevich’s three-dimensional module of the same name, Avvakumov’s tomb dissects and resurrects the creative logic of Malevich’s ruined original, now housed at the Tretyakov Gallery. Malevich bequeathed it to be transformed into an enormous tomb, and asked that it be topped by a tower with a telescope “to watch Jupiter.” In Avvakumov’s version, the telescope monument turns out to be a masterpiece of jewelry in which the measurement of universal space is visualized in a succinct symbol: a telescope, scales and a clock-face. In his other models, Avvakumov references games. In Dominoleum, he assembles Schusev’s Lenin mausoleum out of dominos. In Avvakumov’s miniature world, even Konstantin Melnikov’s long-suffering House of Architects is treated playfully, with witty visual jokes. The house is a drum set: a flat, circular housetop with shining metallic halo that can be played like cymbals.
Sergei Khachaturov

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