Monday, July 13, 2009

ANGST/itecture [2] : Paper Architects

"For many contemporary architects, reality is primarily that which is measurable. The measured drawing forces us define architecture as a set of buildable facts, and the production of these measured drawings consumes most of our time and shapes our thoughts. But there are architects who also work with the unmeasurable. There are different kinds of drawings that try to uncover other aspects of the world of architecture, built and unbuilt. Two such architects are Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin."
-- from "The Reality of a Drawing"

"Brodsky, Utkin, and the others began producing visionary schemes in response to a bleak professional scene in which only artless and ill-conceived buildings, diluted through numerous bureaucratic strata and constructed out of poor materials by unskilled laborers, were being erected - if anything. as such their work constitutes a graphic form of architectural criticism, an escape into the realm of imagination that ended as a visual commentary on what was wrong with social and physical reality and how its ills might be remedied."
-- from the intro to 'Brodsky & Utkin: The Complete Works'

"Brodsky has in fact held a special place in Russian architectural culture since the late 1970s, when he first came to public attention as a leading member of the “paper architects,” a loosely knit group of architecture-school graduates who had abandoned professional practice when faced with the prospect of joining the soulless state building machine. Supporting themselves through foreign competitions, theatrical design, illustration work, and odd jobs, they privately created works of unfettered imagination. Brodsky, then working in collaboration with Ilya Utkin, produced a series of obsessively worked allegorical etchings that cataloged the physical and emotional tolls of the modern city, but with a melancholy sense of the absurd: their Columbarium Habitabile, for instance, proposed a vast concrete mausoleum to which houses set for demolition could be removed and stacked on shelves like so many objects in a cabinet of curiosity."
-- from 'Return of the Prodigal Son' by Mark Lamster

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