To mark the centenary of the Russian revolution, Pushkin House is breaking out into Bloomsbury Square with an artistic installation about Russian poetry in exile. This pavilion, by leading Russian artist and architect, Alexander Brodsky, celebrates the power of the word and the individual voice.
The 101st km, a concept well known in Russia, refers to the distance that poets and others were forced to maintain from major cities, often after returning from the labour camps – a kind of internal exile and attempt by the authorities to suppress them.
The pavilion creates a refuge for these voices, which passers-by are invited to enter and experience.
The second part of the title 'further everywhere' refers to the poetic and mysterious announcement heard on local trains leaving from Moscow, a general denominator for calling points after the centre of the city, that conjures up the vast expanses of Russia, and the rest of the world beyond its borders – wherever the exiled is forced to go.
The interior of the pavilion will be hung with poems written in exile or addressing the condition. Video and audio installations evoke associations with a train carriage with an unknown destination.
Curated by Marcus Lähteenmäki, this is the first artistic pavilion to be built in Bloomsbury Square, and the first in this country by Alexander Brodsky.
Supported by Drawing Matter.
A Pushkin House Presentation
The poets include Marina Tsvetaeva and Vladislav Khodasevich, who emigrated in the early 1920s when the working conditions for free artistic practice became restricted, as well as poets who suffered under Stalin's oppression and purges, such as Osip Mandelshtam and Daniil Kharms. Other poets lived through the purges and stood against the system, only to be quietened down and demeaned by it, such as Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Included are also later generations of poets such as Joseph Brodsky and Natalya Gorbanevskaya who had their voices silenced by the regime and were forced to emigrate in the 1970s.
A display inside Pushkin House will continue the theme and tell stories of repressed literature in Soviet times. A rich programme of events will explore the theme in more depth through lectures, poetry readings, photographs, film screenings and concerts.
Also in the house is a small exhibition of photographs of Russian artists living in emigration today, by Vadim Levin.
Architecture of the Imagination: creativity in exile during the Soviet period
AA EVENING LECTURE, FRIDAY 20th OCTOBER, 18:30 pm
A talk organised with the Architectural Association. With Andres Kurg, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Art History, Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, Tom Cubbin, Senior Lecturer in Design Studies at the Academy of Design and Craft in Gothenburg, Sweden, curator of the pavilion by Alexander Brodsky 101st km - Further Everywhere - Markus Lähteenmäki, and Clementine Cecil, Director of Pushkin House. The talk will focus on the theme of creative practice in exile – from architects and artists who emigrated from Russia following the revolution, to architects of the avant-garde who poured their energy into fantastical designs for private consumption only, and the “unofficial” and paper practices of the 1970s and 80s.
This event will take place at the Architectural Assocation, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000. This is a free event with no booking. For more details see the Architectural Association.