Saturday, November 28, 2009

The one, the only -- (??)

Vera Mukhina’s Rabochii i kolkhoznitsa[Worker and Collective Farm Woman] has been in restoration for six years. Before that, as the wikipedia page describes, it was in prominent display at VDNKh, and served as the emblem for THE film studio of the Soviet Union, Mosfilm.

On Thanksgiving the first stage of its unveiling occurred when the frontal scaffolding was removed. It is scheduled to be restored to its position of prominence at the North Gate of VDNKh.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. There will likely be a post about it, soon, but for now, here are the questions I’m mulling over:
1. What is reality? Here, in the frame of asking which is more important, the image-myth surrounding Mukhina’s statue, or the physical sculpture itself?

2. What does this development mean in the context of VDNKh’s fall from whatever dubious glory it might have once had? (I didn’t believe the reconstruction would ever actually occur, up until just now, when I saw a photograph in the paper…)

3. I myself am excited to see the statue in person. What does that mean about professional distance from my research topic?
The one thing I can say definitively about Worker and Collective Farm Woman is that it was originally placed on top of the 1937 Parisian World Fair pavilion (designed by Boris Iofan). In all of the research I’ve done so far, every architect’s voice rings en masse to denounce Iofan as a Party man who maneuvered his way to win the competition for the Palace of the Soviets. Those same voices, with an equal solidarity in purpose, applaud Mukhina’s artistic creations. And yet Rabochii i Kolkhoznitsa is the pinnacle of Socialist Realism [read as: repression(?)] in sculpture.

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