moscow: my melnikov

© vkhutemas gallery - the back section of the melnikov house in moscow

konstantin melnikov [1890-1974] was an architect who played a prominent role in the russian avant-garde movement. very much an independent creative, melnikov was able to define his own artistic principles until stalinist architecture became the norm in the early 1930s. after being active as an architect for only a decade, he withdrew from the practice and started working as a portrait painter and teacher. melnikov built his own home on krivoarbatsky pereulok in moscow in 1927-1929, and it's widely considered a unique masterpiece of soviet avant-garde architecture. currently on at vkhutemas gallery is my melnikov, an exhibition curated by maria troshina which aims to raise awareness about the building's historic value, its current state - which is actually quite bad - and the threats to its very existence.

melnikov house isn't officially a museum and as such the building doesn't have a protected status which means that the current urban redevelopment of its surroundings - mind you, a huge shopping mall is currently constructed nearby - could very well lead to its destruction. the exhibition at vkhutemas gallery features a mock-up of the upper studio of the house with its striking hexagonal windows, and which was given to the architect's son and artist viktor melnikov. he lived in the house for many years until his death in 2006 and bequeathed it to the russian state in order to create a museum. on display are original works of viktor melnikov, in addition to portraits of family members and other paintings that are now part of the melnikov house. the show also features the screening of an interesting video of a tour of melnikov house that was given by viktor melnikov in 1999 [on through sep 13]. location: ulitsa rozhdestvenka 11 [tverskaya].

© vkhutemas gallery - interior of melnikov house, exhibition setting [top to bottom]