CFP: Panel Beyond Constructivism (Dublin, 2-4 Jun 16)

Dublin Castle, June 2 - 04, 2016
Deadline: Sep 30, 2015
Beyond Constructivism: Soviet Early-Modernist Architecture Revisited
Panel at European Architectural History Network
Fourth International Meeting Dublin Castle
Panel organizers:
Tijana Vujosevic, University of Western Australia
Alla Vronskaya, ETH Zurich
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should    be submitted to the
conference     website along with applicant’s name, professional
affiliation, title of paper or position, a C.V. of no more than five
pages, home and work addresses, e-­mail addresses and telephone numbers.
Architectural production of the two decades after the October
Revolution is often, from the perspective of a Western architectural
historian, neatly divided into two eras: that of “Constructivism” in
the 1920s and that of “Socialist Realism” in the 1930s. However, this
periodization might be considered too neat. The dichotomy of
Constructivism and Socialist Realism is based on an assumption that the
course of Soviet architecture directly mirrored the changes in the
political regime—an assumption that simplifies the complex and
complicate character of early-Soviet architectural theory. For example,
whereas Classicism and Expressionism enjoyed a noticeable presence in
Soviet architecture during the 1920s, in the subsequent decade, the
former avant-gardists created prominent experimental works that offered
their vision of the new Soviet architecture. Moreover, in subsuming all
avant—?garde production under the notion of “Constructivism,”
architectural history follows a tradition developed by art historians,
who singled out a movement that, as it seemed, presaged the forms of
post-Second-World-War American art. In fact, however, apart from the
work of the Constructivist OSA group, Soviet architectural avant-garde
entailed a vast variety of non-Constructivist movements and practices,
such as Nikolai Ladovskii’s Rationalism, Il’ia Golosov and Konstantin
Mel’nikov’s neo-Expressionist fascination with form, or Iakov
Chernikhov’s architectural fantasies. By challenging reductive
periodization, architectural historians can better grasp the complexity
of Soviet early-modernist architectural landscape, stylistic overlaps,
and the diversity of practices and theories that constituted it.
The aim of this panel is to go beyond the notion of Constructivism as a
style-based label for the Soviet avant-garde and to present to the
public academic work on the rich and stylistically and ideologically
dissonant field of architectural innovation in design education, visual
repertoires, politics of artistic production, and design for everyday
life. We welcome papers that present alternative accounts of Soviet
Interwar modernity and its relationship to institutions of power and
the scientific, artistic, political discourses of the time.

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