"Tashkent. Architecture of Historical Optimism”: Aesthetics of Buildings in the 1960s–1980s
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 26 May, the independent Ilkhom Theater opens the exhibition “Tashkent. The Architecture of Historical Optimism". This multimedia project explores the aesthetics of the buildings of the 1960s-1980s, which have become iconic for Tashkent and world modernism in general.
The venue was not chosen by chance: the theater is located in the building of the Youth House, built in 1976 by Richard Blaze, one of the main architects of Tashkent modernism. The project was created with the support of the Swiss Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Uzbekistan, as well as with the organizational support of the creative organization MOC.
“The turning point that turned Tashkent into one of the world capitals of modernism was the 1966 earthquake, which almost completely destroyed most of the city. Then it was decided to urgently restore it by architects and builders from all over the Soviet Union. It was in Tashkent that the slogan "friendship of peoples" became not just a slogan, but a living embodiment of the love and friendship of people who lived here in the evacuation and returned to help old acquaintances. Thus, an urban phenomenon appeared that radically changed the face of Tashkent. Some researchers, such as the German architect Philipp Moiser, call it “seismic modernism,” says Alexander Fedorov, project curator and researcher on the aesthetics of modernist architecture.
The focus of the exhibition project “Tashkent. The Architecture of Historical Optimism” is an architectural layer that emerged in the period of 1960-1980s. Author’s posters, modern photographs, footage of the chronicle, building layouts, replicas of design solutions, fonts and even intangible, but no less important components, such as the sounds of the time and the memories of the people who lived in this architecture, are designed to capture and show the atmosphere of the era when these buildings were built. Many of them never received a conservation status, as a result of which they were destroyed or dissolved among modern active development.
The exposition is based on 19 original posters created by graphic designer and media artist Alexander Fedorov. They depict the masterpieces of modernism, which are located in Tashkent. Photos are accompanied by the names of the authors, the year of construction, the designation of the function of the building and its actual address. Surrounding each poster are works by contemporary photographers that show how architecture interacts with the city over time. Featured authors include: Fotima Abdurakhmanova, Aziz "Yankee" Abdumukhtarov, Gayane Avanesyan, Babur Alimkhodzhaev, Daniil Annenkov, Svetlana Balashova-Kuzmina, Nikita Belai, Mikhail Borodin, Anastasia Garbuz, Yulia Golubkova, Andrey Zhuravlev, Yulia Zimina, Nikolay Kim, Anastasia Klimova , Ernest Kurtveiliev, Maxim Li, Stas Magai, Massimiliano Macri, Maxim Matyashev, Lilia Mirkarimova, Eric Muzipov, Olga Otchenasheva, Nikita Pertsev, Camilla Rustambekova, Ildar Sadykov, Feruza Sazonova, Pya "Philippe" Seung-chun, Arsen Fazildzyanov and Kirill Tsybenko . The exposition is complemented by typographic installations created in the style of neon signs of the 1960s-1980s.
Based on archival materials from the issues of the journal "Architecture and Construction of Uzbekistan", 3D models of buildings demolished or threatened with demolition were created: the Samarkand teahouse, the Cotton Growing Pavilion, the Chorsu Hotel and the Cinema House. (They were printed in the "Vaults" workshops at the "GES-2" cultural center of the V-A-C Foundation and Habitat Academy Tashkent).
Special mention deserves a video installation, assembled from fragments of feature films from the thaw period, which will be broadcast on embossed screens. The frames of the documentary chronicle are supplemented with audio recordings of people’s memories associated with the bright moments of life and events that took place in public buildings of modernism.
For the project "Tashkent. Architecture of Historical Optimism” the original soundtrack “Tashkent: Fragments of the Warm Time” was released, inspired by the sound of the thaw cinema. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to hear the melancholic jazz fusion created by composer Viktor Kirillov and saxophonist Igor Ten. The soundtrack is being prepared for release on vinyl. In parallel, work is underway on the book "Tashkent - the era of historical optimism", which will combine archival and contemporary photographs with the memories of people who are associated with modernist buildings. It is also planned to release an audio guide around Tashkent in Russian, English, Uzbek languages and a public educational program.
In the near future, the project will be scaled up to most of the post-Soviet countries and the former Warsaw bloc. At the moment, architecture and monuments of modernism are being studied in Almaty, Baku, Yerevan, Kyiv, Minsk and Tbilisi.