> Introduction to Yakov Chernikhov

Continuing to talk about Russia, I am going to introduce the fantastic work of Yakov Chernikhov. He was an architect and graphic designer who conceived some utopian visions in the middle of the stalinist regime.
Born in 1889 and with poor family roots, he started his academic career in Saint-Petersburg where he developed his passion by Construtivism and Suprematism. The last one defines an extreme abstractionist type created by Kazimir Malevich. 
Despite his abstract and geometric vision of architecture, he progressively turned his work to a more realistic representations, always keeping the sense of futurism and industrialism, but adding the megalomania of Stalinism.  

In 1951, after 17 000 drawings and projects, Chernikov died incredibly untrusted by the regime who never took seriously his ideas. 
As an artist, we do not know if the latter works of Chernikov are a sublte criticism, or just a romantic view of socialist regime. However, books like Palaces of Communism, Architecture of the Future, Architectural Ensembles (The Architecture of Palaces series of 1934-41) and Pantheons of the Great Patriotic War series (1942-48), show us a monumental future for russian cities, that would make the regime very proud for sure. 
The most acclaimed Chernikov's work is probably Architectural Fantasies: 101 Compositions (1925-1933) which also has some fantastic urban visions, although more stylized.

"Although he did not attach himself organizationally to leftist art and entered the movement relatively late, Iakov Chernikhov nonetheless entered the history of contemporary architecture as one of the brightest and most romantic of artists, whose work became the classic culmination of the strivings of the 'Soviet 1920s'"

(more info and images in Yakov Chernikov International Foundation)

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