Unknown Siberia


Festival of Modern Russian Art
Lyon, France
15 – 21 November 2010

Architectural Visualisations of Nikolai Levochkin

Jointly with the State Shchusev Museum of Architecture.
Project Director Sergei Sitar (the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow)

The State Shchusev Museum of Architecture presents a unique collection of architectural artefacts of Nikolai Levochkin, an employee of the Moscow Underground (1933 2004) “an architect and train driver of the future,” an amateur artist whose works reflected his personal experience of time and space, his family and the country.

According to his relatives, who gave the collection to the Museum after his death, the creation of the maquettes and the scrapbook was the only sense, the only occupation, which linked him to the world. And at the end of his life, the only item in his flat, apart fr om his collection, was his bed. The works of Levochkin are undoubtedly objects of memory, but they are also architectural works of art. He put together marvellous cathedrals, churches and palaces out of the most diverse objects which pervade human life desk drawers, table lamps, globes, frames of TV sets, Christmas bells, pictures from the journal Ogonyok, and others too numerous to mention.

Levochkin’s maquettes combine traditional Russian architectural forms with well known everyday objects which adopt the role of material, which evokes a dual effect of recognition, and because of that the objects are perceived simultaneously as architectural maquettes and as ready-made components.

These complicated structures, looking like designs for architectural monuments for Moscow, have been carefully thought out, decorated with different religious and secular symbols, moralistic opinions, and also with reproductions of Orthodox icons and pictures by European artists. They are something more than simply amateur works of architectural sculpture. Each work has a name written on a board similar to those which indicate the names of stations on the Moscow metro: Moscow Cathedral, Cathedral of Saint Rus, Palace of 12 Months, Palace of Nature, Monument to the Great Escape, Castle, and Fantasy.

Levochkins original objects occupy a separate place in the collection of the State Shchusev Museum of Architecture, once again reminding us that the possibilities of a synthesis of the fine arts and architecture are unlim ited and unpredictable.

Venue: Archipel Centre de Culture Urbaine
Time: 15 November 9 January