Architektūros leidinių fondas

ALF 04
MAIŠTAUJANTIS OPORTUNIZMAS
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Šio Architektūros [leidinių] fondo ketvirtojo numerio turinio atspirties taškas ir pradžios medžiaga – tai 2013 m. Ines Weizman, Jurgos Daubaraitės ir Jono Žukausko kuruoto Architektūros [pokalbių] fondo ciklo „Disidentiškumas architektūroje“ paskaitos. Tačiau leidinys pristato tarsi du disidentiškumo praktikos pjūvius: paskaitose pristatytus istorinius kritinių erdvinių praktikų pavyzdžius Baltijos šalyse sovietiniu laikotarpiu ir buvusioje Jugoslavijoje; o esė skiltyje disidentiškumo sąvoką siekiama kvestionuoti šiuolaikinės architektūros ir urbanistikos problemų kontekste.

Baltijos šalių disidentiškumo tyrimai pristatyti pratęsiant ilgalaikio Ines Weizman projekto „Dissidence through Architecture“ logiką. 2014 m. išleistoje to paties pavadinimo knygoje bei šiame leidinyje publikuojamame specialiame interviu Weizman apibūdina disidentiškumą kaip labai specifinį tuometinėje Vakarų Europoje įsitvirtinusios aktyvisto sąvokos atitikmenį kitoje geležinės uždangos pusėje. Paskaitų tekstai kalba apie įvairias architektūrines ir erdvines praktikas, vystytas skirtingų socialistinių režimų kontekste – Bogdano Bogdanovič buvusioje Jugoslavijoje, „Talino mokyklos“ bei Baltijos šalių pavyzdžius – Martą Stanją, Talino grupę T ir kitus. Visi šie kūrėjai savo profesiniame gyvenime dažniausiai laviravo link praktikos, prieštaraujančios, paneigiančios ar ignoruojančios tuometinei valdžiai priimtiną ‚profesionalios‘ architektūros apibrėžimą. Šių įvairių ieškojimų rezultatai labai įvairūs ir kiekvienas atliepiantys savo politinį ar socialinį kontekstą - „popierinė“ architektūra, kritiškai iš esmės architektūrą svarstančios parodos bei kitos priemonės, nukrypstančios nuo tuometinės valdžios patvirtintų normų bei tvarkos. Užuovėją architektai radę taip pat ir srityse, kurias ne taip lengvai pasiekė valstybinių projektavimo institutų gairės – kolūkių ar individualių namų statybos užsakymuose, kaip Marijos Drėmaitės aptariamas Henrikas Šilgalis. Pertvarkos simboliu Lietuvoje tapusi grupė „Antis“ - atsiradusi atsitraukus nuo architektūros kaip profesionalios praktikos apskritai.

2014 m. rugpjūčio mėn. vykęs seminaras „Maištaujantis oportunizmas / Subversive Opportunism“, kurio pagrindu pristatomos penkios kontekstą išplečiančios esė, iš dalies išprovokuotas pačios disidentiškumo sąvokos. Jau paskaitų metu daug kam kilo klausimas – ar disidentiškumas architektūroje apskritai įmanomas – ar įmanomas pasipriešinimas, atmetimas, konfrontacija praktikoje, kuri yra tiesiogiai priklausoma nuo materialinių sąlygų? Kaip teigia vienas iš 1980 m. Maskvos neoficialiosios meno terpės narių: „Retai kada galėdavai sutikti žmogų, kuris bekompromisiškai oponuotų oficialiai struktūrai. Buvo neįmanoma priimti poziciją ir pasipriešinti, nerizikuojant tam tikru kompromisu. Mes buvome izoliuoti, bet tuo pačiu, kaip profesionalai, priklausomi nuo valdžios. Jei nebūtume vaidinę dvigubos rolės ir slėpę po kauke kuo buvome iš tiesų, būtume negalėję egzistuoti. Jei kas oficialiai nepakluso, tas nustojo egzistuoti. Toks žmogus buvo išbrauktas, ištrintas. Jei jūs kalbate apie rimtą rezistenciją ar protestą prieš valdžią, jūs tikriausiai turite galvoje laisvą visuomenę, kurioje toks disidentiškumas toleruojamas, visuomenę, kuri tavęs nemarginalizuoja, neišbraukia tavęs iš gyvenimo. [...] Menininkui reikia fizinės erdvės, medžiagų, drobių, teptukų, dažų. Jei šios priemonės atimamos, menininkas nustoja egzistuoti kaip materialus asmuo.“

Kompromisas, prisitaikymas – galbūt įdomesnis ir tinkamesnis būdas žvelgti ir į šiuolaikines architektūrines, urbanistines, dizaino praktikas bei jų kontekstą. To konteksto vertinimas, žinoma, dažnai priklauso nuo asmeninių politinių pažiūrų. Seminaro kvietimas buvo paremtas keliais teiginiais kaip pradiniais išeities taškais: mes gyvename „komunikacijos“ kapitalizme (arba informacinėje visuomenėje), (neo)liberalios ekonomikos idėja paremtoje visuomenėje. Jei, tarkime, besąlygiška rezistencija buvo neįmanoma totalitarinio režimo sąlygomis (anot vieno seminaro auditorijos narių – disidentas rizikuoja savo gyvenimu); regis, šiuolaikiniame pasaulyje besąlygiška rezistencija taip pat neįmanoma – nes, galiausiai nebėra dviejų ar kelių tarpusavyje besivaržančių politinių ideologijų, viskas susipynę globaliame mainų bei konkurencijos tinkle. Ar galėtume teigti, kad tai yra tam tikras mokėjimo, sugebėjimo pasinaudoti galimybe, oportunizmo kaip nišų ir galimybių veikti, nuolatinio ekonominės naudos ieškojimo režimas?

Šio leidinio esė įvairiai svarsto ar oportunizmas galėtų būti strategija. Kaip būtų galima rasti būdą bendradarbiauti, neatmetant šiandienos galios jėgų, tuo pačiu išlaikant kritišką atstumą? Kokias architektūrines ir urbanistines formas tai įgyja? Tor Lindstrand ir Håkan Nilsson lygindami naujausias nekilnojamojo turto ir miesto planavimo tendencijas Švedijoje, siūlo to ieškoti atmestame ir ilgą laiką neigtame modernistinės urbanistikos palikime – Stokholmo priemiestyje Fittja. Pasitelkdami į pagalbą iliustracijas, autoriai nagrinėja, regis, esminį šiuolaikinės architektūros elementą – paviršių. Kokį subjektą suponuoja neoliberali planavimo politika, o kokį subjektą produkuoti buvo apsibrėžusi modernistinė architektūra? Kaip galima būtų iš naujo aktualizuoti bei interpretuoti šiuos du skirtingus požiūrius į individą visuomenėje? Šiuolaikinio, taip vadinamos „dėmesio ekonomikos“ subjektą – „semionautą“ nagrinėja ir Manuelio Bürgerio esė, tirdama pasireiškiančias praktikas bei sugebėjimus pasipriešinti ir pasijuokti iš apribotų komunikacijos formatų, sudarančių didžiąją dalį komunikacijos srauto.

Ethel Baraona Pohl pristato kelias atvejo studijas iš įvairiausių politinių ir socialinių kontekstų – ilgalaikius projektus, siekiančius pakeisti vietos bendruomenės aplinką, politinę situaciją. Šių projektų išskirtinis bruožas, anot Ethel, jog jie visi peržengia efemeriško, trumpalaikio „taktinio urbanizmo“ ribas; visi šie projektai siekia bendradarbiauti su daugybe vietos faktorių – pradedant vietos bendruomene, valdžios organais, investuotojais ir kt. Jack Self nagrinėja „maištaujantį oportunizmą“ kaip Trojos arklio metaforą – „veikiantį iš vidaus, bet prieš“. Jo pasiūlymas – remiantis rinkos logika ir jos skaičiavimo mechanizmais sukurti tokį architektūrinį gyvenamosios erdvės sprendimą, kuris pasipriešintų sąlygoms, kuriamoms tos pačios rinkos logikos ir suteiktų pretekstą naujoms gyvenimo formoms – visų pirma, gyvenimo be skolos. Jacko nuomone, gyvenamasis būstas yra pagrindinis šiandienos galios jėgų įrankis – ten ir turėtų būti „įleistas“ Trojos arklys. Eray Çayli esė mus nukelia į dar kitą kontekstą – Stambulą, kuriame pastaraisiais metais vyko ypač daug viešosios erdvės konfliktų tarp visuomenės bei valdžios institucijų. Kuomet kvestionuojama esminė demokratinė teisė reikšti nepasitenkinimą, kokias pasipriešinimo formas galima įsivaizduoti? Eray esė nurodo į žymaus vietos architekto – suprojektavusio ne ką kita, kaip vieną didžiausių prekybos centrų Stambule – poziciją. Bandydamas padaryti šią hiperkomercinę erdvę visiems „prieinama“ ir „praeinama“ architektas mano, jog panaudojo taip pat tam tikrą „pasipriešinimo“ taktiką.

Visi šie pavyzdžiai visumoje, kita vertus, tikriausiai puikiai iliustruoja tai, ką teigia ir pati „Disidentiškumo architektūroje“ bendrakuratorė Ines Weizman – disidentiškumo neįmanoma paversti tikslia strategija. Tai tam tikra jautrumo kontekstui, politinei ir socialinei aplinkai išdava. Viena iš neformalių seminaro diskusijų išvadų - šiandienos pasaulyje, kai viskas, regis, itin komplikuota ir nevienareikšmiška – architekto, dizainerio, ir turbūt daugelio kitų estetinių vizionierių pagrindinė rolė – derybininko. Ne opozicija, ne prieštaravimas, užsispyrimas, bet sugebėjimas šnekėti, aiškinti, rasti kompromisą su daugeliu veikėjų bei faktorių gali leisti tikėtis mūsų vaizduotės pokyčių; kaip teigia interviu architektė, profesorė Keller Easterling – „kad viską matytum šiek tiek kitaip“, ir patektum „į naujas veikimo teritorijas“.

Numerio rengėjos dėkoja seminaro „Subversive Opportunism“ dalyviams ir esė autoriams Ethel Baraona Pohl, Manuel Bürger, Eray Çayli, Tor Lindstrand, Hakan Nilsson, Jack Self; ekskursijos organizatorėms Indrei Ruseckaitei ir Aistei Galaunytei; NDG edukacijos kuratorei Eglei Nedzinskaitei, ŠMC skaityklai ir kuratorei Inesai Pavlovskaitei; numerio interviu rengėjams Eray Çayli, Marijai Drėmaitei, Natashai Marie Llorens, tekstus surinkusiems paskaitų savanoriams Karolinai Čiplytei, Bernadetai Petronytei, Gytautei Gineitei, Marijai Steponavičiūtei, Jurga Talkevičiūtei, Vytui Narušiui, Viktorija Baliukonytei, Gabrielei Ubarevičiūtei, Giedriui Mamavičiui, Kotrynai Laučytei, Elvinai Lukoševičiūtei, Monika Kalinauskaitei, iliustracijų redaktorei Aistei Galaunytei, redaktoriams ir vertėjams Jurgai Grunskienei, Margaritai Gaubytei, Stephenui Deanui, fotografams Norbertui Tukaj ir Andriui Laurinaičiui.

Ypatingai dėkojame Architektūros [pokalbių] fondo paskaitų ciklo „Disidentiškumas architektūroje“ (Nacionalinė dailės galerija, 2013) kuratoriams Ines Weizman, Jurgai Daubaraitei, Jonui Žukauskui ir visiems paskaitų savanoriams; paskaitų rėmėjams Nordic Culture Point ir Lietuvos kultūros rėmimo fondui.

ALF 04
MAIŠTAUJANTIS OPORTUNIZMAS / SUBVERSIVE OPPORTUNISM
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Taking as an inspiration the Architecture Fund lecture series "Dissidence through Architecture", which provided an in-depth overview of the attempts by architects in the former Socialist block to create outstanding nonconformist projects, this publication seeks to define the context in which architects, designers, and other cultural practitioners operate today as well. Our objective is to explore the notion of dissidence in the context of contemporary design, architecture and other spatial practices. The focus of this publication is the creative, disobedient or liberating tactics that are situated in the midst of the prevailing ideology of the neoliberal economy and media-saturated society. What kind of long-term and fundamental changes is the opportunistically behaving contemporary dissident better capable of envisioning?

“Dissidence through Architecture”, curated by Ines Weizman, Jurga Daubaraitė and Jonas Žukauskas in Vilnius in 2013, featured the architects Bogdan Bogdanović, Tallin school and Group T, Marta Stanja and others who work within different socialist regimes and have developed diverse works vis-à-vis what was considered official architectural practice – ranging from paper architecture, critical exhibitions and other diversions from the agendas approved by the state. Though being labelled as dissidents, these architects themselves tend to avoid this title. Members of the underground Moscow art scene of the late 1980s expressed similar sentiments:

“Rarely could you find any individual who opposed uncompromisingly the official structure. It was impossible to take a stand and resist without risking compromise in some way. So we found ourselves isolated but also professionally dependent on the government. We could not exist unless we assumed a double role and masked who we really were. If one did not comply officially, one stopped existing. One was blotted out, erased. If you consider serious resistance or protest against the authorities, you probably have in mind a free society in which such dissidence is tolerated, a society that does not marginalize you or put you outside the frame of life. [...] An artist requires physical space, materials, canvases, brushes, paints. If these tools are taken away, the artist ceases to exist as a material person”1.

Many of these specific practices – decisions to leave or to produce outside of state-owned commissions and bureaus – mark the specific relation to the state power (the only commissioner at the time), and signify attempts by the architects to carve out space for their own creative agency – a sort of ‘double existence’; being both conformist and non-conformist to the regime. Therefore, the question of whether this ‘dissident’ legacy of the Cold war era could inform the contemporary engagements in architecture, design and cultural practice perhaps should be taken one step further: looking into the ways of not only how one distances oneself or how one refuses and retreats from power structures, but how does one work along with them and how does one find gaps of opportunity within the existing system? Being dissident not as a revolutionary or a figure of resistance, but dissident as an opportunist.

Such a perspective hopefully brings the possibility of finding new definitions for agency in the field of the forces that endorse opportunism – the condition that emerged after the end of the Cold War, together with technological change and marketization. The ‘post-critical’ strategies of the early 2000s proposed engaging with these forces horizontally, but still keeping the promise of not totally complying with them. One of the proponents of the term, Robert Somol, talked about ‘projective’ rather than ‘critical’ practice; as criticality professed by the neo-Marxist tradition of theoreticians, precisely by distancing itself claimed to be powerless and closed off in its own autonomy.

“In the end, there is no useful form of exchange between the constative and performative (or the critical and projective); it’s simply a choice one makes: which world does one want to occupy, what game does one want to play? One can struggle – heroically, tragically – within and against “this” world; or attempt to reorganize its materials in such a way as to invite as many takers as possible into another. Design as nomination, as promise, as bequest, as sentence (voluntary prisoners?), or, as I might prefer, as wager”2.

Keller Easterling proposes the figure of the entrepreneur as being more capable of bringing change than any activist position: “Rather than tense resistance and competition, a strategy may ironically rely on the power of gifts, exaggerated compliance, rumour, misdirection, distraction, meaninglessness, comedy, unreasonable innovation, or contagions. The most productive move may be the selfishly-motivated innovation of the most abusive player.”3

The proposal to look into dissidence as opportunism leads to the question of how in the contemporary world, where power is dispersed in the realms of media, global logistics, neoliberal politics, with the market being the main form for the organization of society, does one engage with the relevant power? How does one find strategies from inside of these realms? Next to the arsenal of tactics outlined by Ines Weizman “from active political engagements, self-conscious inefficiency, tactical refusal, evasion and confrontation”4, what other relevant positions to mirror the power – ambiguous, double-bind, illegitimate – are present? Is the figure of the entrepreneur/opportunist likely to bring about change or does this constitute an oxymoronic expression?

Five invited speakers-writers from Berlin, London, Barcelona, Stockholm and Istanbul have shared the strategies of their practice and have presented different case studies. Tor Lindstrand and Håkan Nilsson, participants of the research project "Space, Ideology and Power" at Södertörn University, Stockholm, discuss the urban development tendencies in Swedish cities. They suggest looking closer at the heritage of modernistic urban planning that was rejected and neglected for many years. Using illustrations these authors analyze what seems to be one of the essential elements of contemporary architecture – the surface. What kind of subject is presupposed by neoliberal planning politics, and what kind of subject the modern movement was determined to create; how does that translate into materials, facades, surfaces? The contemporary subject of so-called “attention economy” is analyzed in the essay by Manuel Bürger, Berlin-based visual designer among many other activities. He presents his "Slippery Design" concept – how the formats of mass media communication, such as memes or instagram, and their pre-implemented design decisions can be taken as criticism of the power structures that create them. Ethel Baraona Pohl, co-founder of "dpr-barcelona" publishing house, talks about the newly formed architectural initiatives that react to the situation here and now and also exploit the endless possibilities provided by social media and other technologies. The distinctive feature of these initiatives is that they go beyond the ephemeral tactical urbanism and attempt to establish long-standing collaborations with a variety of actors: local communities, authorities and investors among others. The architect and founder of the Architecture Association's newspaper "Fulcrum", Jack Self analyses “subversive opportunism” through a metaphor of the Trojan horse – “working from within, yet against”. He looks into the role of the architect today by analyzing the social contract implicit in the current housing mechanism. According to Self, housing is the main tool of today’s power forces, it is the area where the Trojan horse should enter to create a precedent for new forms of life (life without debt). The essay by Eray Çayli takes us to Istanbul, where a lot of conflicts between the public and the authorities took place in public space in recent years. When the fundamental democratic right to protest is questioned, what kind of forms of resistance can be imagined? Çayli presents a position of one of the starchitects in Turkey, Emre Arolat, who has designed the biggest mall in Istanbul. By attempting to make this hypercommercial space accessible in terms of walkability and ease of access for everybody, the architect claims to have improved the situation of public space in Turkey.

The editors of the issue would like to give their sincere thanks to all seminar participants: Tor Lindstrand and Håkan Nilsson, Manuel Bürger, Ethel Baraona Pohl, Jack Self and Eray Çayli, organizers of the special tour Aistė Galaunytė and Indrė Ruseckaitė, education curator at National Gallery of Art Eglė Nedzinskaitė, CAC Reading Room and curator Inesa Pavlovskaitė, authors of the interviews Natasha Marie Llorens, Eray Çayli and Marija Drėmaitė and the volunteers who typed the lecture texts Karolina Ciplytė, Bernadeta Petronytė, Gytautė Gineitė, Marija Steponavičiūtė, Jurga Talkevičiūtė, Vytas Narušis, Viktorija Baliukonytė, Gabrielė Ubarevičiūtė, Giedrius Mamavičius, Kotryna Laučytė, Elvina Lukoševičiūtė, Monika Kalinauskaitė. Thanks also go to the illustration editor Aistė Galaunytė, editors and translators Jurga Grunskienė, Margarita Gaubytė and Stephen Dean, programmer Martynas Bardauskas, and photographers Norbert Tukaj and Audrius Laurinavičius.

Our special, heartfelt thanks go to the curators of the lecture series Ines Weizman, Jurga Daubaraitė, Jonas Žukauskas (Dissidence through Architecture, National Gallery of Art, 2013) and the volunteers of all the lectures. We would also like to give our thanks to the sponsors of the lectures Nordic Culture Point and Culture Support Foundation.


1 Igor Makarevich, Soviet Dissident Artists: Interviews after Perestroika, co-edited by Renee Baigell and Matthew Baigell, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1995, p. 286.
2 Somol, Robert. Green Dots 101, Hunch 11: Rethinking Representation (Episode Publishers, 2007), p. 36.
3 Easterling, Keller, “Some True Stories”, Perspecta 42: The Real (The MIT Press, April 2010), p. 76.
4 Weizman, Ines. Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence, Routledge, 2014, p. 5.

ALF 04
ANDRES KURG THE PAPERS, EXHIBITIONS AND BUILDINGS OF THE TALLINN SCHOOL IN ESTONIA
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ANDRES KURG and VILEN KÜNNAPU, at the Architecture Fund lecture “The papers, exhibitions and buildings of Talinn School in Estonia”, Vilnius, NDG, 2013, photo: Andrius Laurinaitis

Labas vakaras, I’m very happy and honoured to be in Vilnius again. For the past two years I have been coming to this building [National Art Gallery] rather often and I have really enjoyed my collaboration here with the people from the National Art Gallery. My main task tonight is to give you an overview of the so-called Tallinn School of architects, their practices that bridge the fields of art and architecture, and their polemical exhibitions in the 1970s and early 1980s. But to start off, I would like to give you some background information on my own research on this topic.

 

In 2008 I co-curated an exhibition entitled “Environment, Projects, Concepts. Architects of the Tallinn School 1972-1985” together with Mari Laanemets, in which our idea was to show the works of a wider circle of critical architects who were active in Tallinn in the 1970s and 1980s. The setup of the show took into account the design features of the architects’ previous group exhibitions. Together with the show we also produced a book that included an interview with the Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, a text by Georg Schöllhammer and ourselves, as well as an overview of the Tallinn architects through a set of keywords and a questionnaire that had been given to the participating architects.

 

A follow-up to that project was an exhibition in 2011 that extended the research on the 1970s to a geographically broader territory, including other Baltic countries and Russia. As some of you might know, the show “Our Metamorphic Futures. Design, Technical Aesthetics and Experimental Architecture in the Soviet Union 1960-1980” first took place here in this same building and ran from December 2011 to February 2012. The same show was later exhibited in the Museum of Applied Art and Design in Tallinn.

 

With this show our aim was to break up the traditional research of the past decades that usually remains inside the borders of one national culture, and investigate instead the connections and exchange of ideas between the countries. What happens when we juxtapose, for example, the projects from the Baltic countries or Russia? How would they work next to each other? What kind of new meanings are generated in this way? How could traditional national canons be upset? So, here you can see some of the works of the Tallinn School architects next to architects from Moscow or next to Latvian and Lithuanian architects and designers. A nice example of this juxtaposition is the works by the famous Russian duo Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid next to Estonian pop artist Kaarel Kurismaa and his kinetic objects. The whole section, in turn, forms a kind of comment on the design discourse in the Soviet Union and also could be seen as a way to reinterpret the works themselves, which usually have been considered in the context of the so-called unofficial art. This exhibition took place in parallel with the show “Modernization”, which attempted a similar investigation on the level of design and applied art objects in the Baltic countries.

 

But let’s turn now to the Tallinn School and its exhibitions in the 1970s. In 1978, in the foyer of the Academy of Sciences library in Tallinn a group of 14 architects had a show called “Architecture Exhibition 78.” This was consciously a very laconic title, referring to the official language of the day, and the annual survey exhibitions organized by the Union of Architects. But this time the exhibition was rather different from the standard survey and more a conceptual intervention in the professional field of architecture. In this photograph you can see the group of architects themselves, standing in front of the building where the show took place. The leading members of the group were Leonhard Lapin, Jüri Okas, Vilen Künnapu, others included Ain Padrik, Ülevi Eljand, Toomas Rein, Tiit Kaljundi, Jaan Ollik, Tõnis Vint, Harry Šein and Avo-Himm Looveer. Veljo Kaasik is missing from the image; together with Toomas Rein they belonged to a little older generation, but had joined up with the “young and angry ones” and showed their support. Others were more or less of the same age; they had graduated from the Architecture Department of the State Art Institute in the early 1970s and had gone on from there to work in the Collective Farm Design office KEK. The activity of this group of friends however had already started during their studies: Vilen Künnapu studied together with Leonhard Lapin in the same year, resulting in an important dialogue between them. Jüri Okas was a bit younger but was closely allied to Lapin during his studies. Later Okas and Ollik formed a creative partnership in the mid 1970s.

 

[fig. ALF04_KURG_TA] Architectural exhibition at the Estonian Academy of Sciences Library in Tallinn, 1978

 

The site of the exhibition in 1978 was also significant: the building of the Academy of Sciences Library was from the 1960s, one of the early modernist structures after de-Stalinization. It had a huge foyer which everybody who went to the reading room had to pass. So the place itself already guaranteed a significant number of visitors. Secondly, the building had a long panoramic window that opened on to the street; the interior was visible and very open in character. And finally, the library was located almost opposite the building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Estonian SSR, across the square with a statue of Lenin.

Formally, the architecture show employed standard display boards, one by one metre in size, however the images represented were quite unexpected. It started with a text piece by Leonhard Lapin, called A Concept of Invisible Architecture and A Concept of Spontaneous Architecture. It said that “spontaneous architecture is a free art” and that simply “by moving in space you create architecture”. These statements were unusual in a context of where architecture was understood as something material, tangible: panels and concrete. On the other end of the row of display boards stood another work by Lapin, produced under the name of Albert Trapeež, entitled “Architectural Styles in 20th century Estonia”. This presented the wedding photos of some of the participating architects, categorized under different 20th century styles: Art Nouveau, functionalism, art deco and something called “bourgeois representative style” – a bureaucratic way of explaining modernism with neoclassical features. So it’s a kind of self-referential and somewhat ironic gesture, but even more importantly, a whole new way of speaking about architecture, that goes very far from the modernist and Socialist mainstream.

 

Some of the general ideas behind the show have retrospectively been highlighted by Leonhard Lapin, who said:

 

In 1978 we presented “pure ideas”, as our aim was to show architecture as an independent form of art, a manifestation of the spiritual, but also as an independent and influential feature that played a part in social processes.”

 

This is a revealing statement, on the one hand side architecture was considered an independent form of art, engaging the “spiritual”, on the other it was seen as influencing social processes; there is the dichotomy of autonomy vs engagement. I think this describes well the dilemmas of this group of architects and their work. Engagement had been devalued by the official Soviet ideology which had turned it into a bureaucratic slogan, which in turn had no relationship to the everyday practice. So, on the one hand they had to claim autonomy from the official building practice, but at the same time show that architecture is not only the alienated standardized building process but also part of a broader environment that influences daily life.

 

When we trace back these ideas of the exhibition then we could start with a document called the “Programme for an Exhibition of New Architecture”, written in 1972 and signed by Tiit Kaljundi, Veljo Kaasik, Leonhard Lapin, Avo-Himm Looveer, and Ülevi Eljand. At that point, several of the signatories had just graduated from the Art Institute. The manifesto said “In architecture everything is permissible” and then further, “The aims of the exhibition are 1. to free architecture from local dogma; 2. to cultivate the formal possibilities of architecture”. And then quite surprisingly they speak about the exhibition itself: “The common feature of the various authors’ contributions will be the height of the exhibited drawings – 80cm, the width of their drawings will be determined by each individual author”. And finally: “Let contemporary architecture represent a new democracy”! So, in some sense here already is made manifest this desire to see architecture as something that plays part in political processes, understood in the most widest of senses. This proposed exhibition did not happen in 1972; it was only in 1978 when these architects were finally able to make the kind of exhibition that reflected the spirit of this manifesto.

 

As I mentioned before, the group of friends and colleagues who had studied together at the State Art Institute went after their graduation to work for the Collective Farm Construction design office “EKE Projekt”. It was a cooperative enterprise rather than a state one, and thus it had a much better control over its resources. It was also known for its much more liberal atmosphere, so it was popular among the younger generation and what was more important – it had a client who was really interested in commissioning architecture that would look different from the average Soviet building production. It is also worth pointing out the situation in Estonia at that time, and I think this might apply to other Baltic countries as well, in that there was a considerable difference in prosperity between town and country, where the countryside was wealthier than towns. This meant that they had more resources also to spend and redirect into their own buildings and welfare.

 

There are several significant buildings by these architects from the early 1970s, especially by Toomas Rein, that were produced for the collective farms. One of them is the housing in Pärnu, the almost 1km long “Golden Home”, together with the administration and industrial production of the Pärnu collective farm construction office. (Rein has mentioned that an initial suggestion for the name of the housing was “Commune”, but the inhabitants disliked it). Rein invited his friends and colleagues to contribute to the project, so Leonhard Lapin designed concrete architectonic signs in front of the entrances to the Golden Home. These remind one of minimalist sculptures and were meant to be in different colours with the rough concrete work painted over. In reality not all of them were carried out.

The collective farm is located on the outskirts of the coastal town of Pärnu. On the one side of the street is housing and workplaces are on the other side. The road in between is the one that goes from Pärnu to Rīga. There is wood workshop with quite an unusual roof structure and supergraphic signage on the exterior wall. On the other side, the playground of the kindergarten was designed by Sirje Runge, using unusual abstract features for the playground elements. The boldly colourful interior design of the kindergarten and the whole housing area was done by the interior architects Helle and Taevo Gans.

 

Another well-publicized building from this period was the Collective Farm Centre in Rapla, also by Toomas Rein. You will recognize the kind of retouched colours that the Soviet period photography used. And here is an early work by Vilen Künnapu ‒ it was a sanatorium in Pärnu, this was a competition inside the KEK design office, and Künnapu won it. Later Jüri Okas and Harry Šein collaborated on the project and Okas also drafted this exhibition panel from 1976, from the Monumental Art Exhibition, which was co-curated by Lapin. I think this panel and the building are remarkable in the way they reference the Russian avant-garde of the 1920s, really taking its aesthetics from El Lissitzky. The building was part of the sanatorium complex which belonged to the collective farms and was operated by their trade unions. The system was that employees working in the collective farms in the countryside could get places in the sanatoriums there. Pärnu has several of them from different periods and architectural styles.

 

Another significant competition which brought this group of architects together was the proposal for the Olympic Yachting Centre in Tallinn in 1974. This was meant for the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980, the yachting competition of which was held in Tallinn. The competition was held in several stages; Avo-Himm Looveer and Kristin-Mari Looveer (one of the couples on the Architectural Styles display board) led the team who won the first round, but also Lapin, Tiit Kaljundi and Jüri Okas were in their team. The competition and its aftermath turned into a confrontation between the older generation and the younger ones; established architects were surprised and suspicious, doubting also the professional skills of the winners. Finally the team was reorganized, more experienced members from the Eesti Projekt design office were included and Lapin and Kaljundi resigned from the group saying that if it saves the project then they will leave. Finally there was a compromise between Avo-Himm Looveer, who made one part of the building and other architects who made the living quarters for the sportsmen.

 

What I think is important to emphasize here, is that in many of these buildings we find implicit the critical ideas that were part of the 1978 exhibition. Harry Šein has described the design principles of his period, saying that their aim was to replace the “functionalism of machine-logic” with “human-faced populism”. Further he says that it is important to move towards “a certain objective and dynamic regulation of the environment instead of the previous thinking that endeavoured final and static order”, that buildings should be able to accommodate future changes, be flexible and user-orientated. They should be ready to adapt to the unexpected. And he ends with an interesting statement, saying:

 

The dwellers feel every day their inability neither to participate in the design of the living environment nor to manipulate it during use. The more complete is the habitation when we move into it, the more we uphold the initial prohibitions and taboos, the less it will be a home for us… We can survive without people’s architects, more important that people themselves could be architects.”

 

People’s architect” was an honourable name given to important Soviet architects, he juxtaposes it to the user’s potential to intervene in the building him or herself, really undermining the authority of the architect, which is rather unusual for that time.

 

Also, if we look at the other members of the Tallinn School and to their later statements, then these go against these proposed ideas as well, emphasizing the individuality of the architect’s handwriting and architecture as art. So, what I think is important to realize is that the Tallinn School was really a mix of diverse standpoints and approaches, but also that these existed in parallel and were used simultaneously at the time. Šein’s writings give us a rather different idea of what the critique of Soviet mass construction was about.

 

[fig. ALF04_KURG_2_shein_hills] Harry Šein, Hills I-II (Mustamäe, Õismäe), 1978, exhibition display, photomontage

 

In 1978 Šein showed a display board that was a collage image of the new prefabricated housing areas ‒ the new towns around the historical centre of Tallinn. He showed all four new areas that were built by that time: Mustamäe, Õismäe, Keldrimäe, Lasnamäe. Some images look like an aftermath of a riot (perhaps reminiscent of something like Paris ’68); here an image shows a corpse and a broken car in Mustamäe (Tallinn’s version of Lazdynai). Õismäe, a circular area, is likened here to a Colosseum; the image of Keldrimäe refers to the central market that is located there and Lasnamäe, with a broad central highway cut into the limestone, is shown here like a shopping arcade.

 

An important part of the criticism of mass construction was dealing with the ways of how to integrate these areas into everyday life practices. Here, Tiit Kaljundi’s project, called View of the New Visual Environment, is quite unusual. He proposed three different versions for adapting the environment of the new housing areas: the first was growing crops in the courtyards in between the panel houses – the empty spots that were used for car parking have been turned into decorative fields with the aim of bringing the countryside to the city, and as the architect put it himself, to remind the urban dwellers of the natural life cycles. We could think here also of a comment on the Soviet dictum of erasing the difference between the town and the country. Another proposal by Kaljundi was the idea to turn the slag heaps in the mining areas to centres for downhill skiing and other winter sports. These are huge mountains of leftovers from mining oil shale in North-Eastern Estonia and as a matter of fact, today some of them have indeed become places for extreme sports and also skiing in the winter. Thirdly, Kaljundi proposed raising the “self-consciousness” of small single-family dwellings that had been left between large panel houses in the new suburbs, using for this ephemeral architectural features, weathervanes etc.

 

[fig. ALF04_KURG_1_elavate-surnute] Leonhard Lapin, The city of the living – the city of the dead, 1978, exhibition display, gouache on cardboard, Museum of Estonian Architecture

 

Along similar lines, dealing with the territories between panel houses, Leonhard Lapin’s “City of the Living, City of the Dead” two years later, proposed inserting a cemetery to a public courtyard in one of the prefabricated residential districts. Lapin suggested reconstructing garages to function as tombs and bodies to be buried in cars, whereas the grave monuments could also have functioned as playground elements for children. (“In this way, people would take better care of the area and parents would not allow their children to vandalize its equipment”, as one reviewer mockingly put it.1) This grotesque scene ironized on the idea of a new town micro-district which had to provide everything useful for daily life. As Lapin himself put it, this addition would enable the area to be self-sufficient and the “inhabitants [would] be able to remain in their neighbourhoods forever without ever needing to cross a single thoroughfare”.2 Based on a view from Lapin’s and his then-wife Sirje Runge’s living-room window, the cemetery project referred to several members of the architectural establishment who had been buried under the gravestones in the courtyard; in a further corner was even a common grave of the Architects’ Union. In this way it also commented on the changed circumstances of architects’ work, where in the context of mass produced dwellings the role of the architect had faded away, leaving him or her to follow obediently the numerous restrictive building laws and regulations.

 

This was a project that in the exhibition in the Academy of Sciences library caused most excitement as well as fuss: the obelisk in the centre of the image referred directly to the long-time head of the Union of Architects, saying that he was to die in 1979 (that was a year after the exhibition). What in fact happened was that the head of the union was voted down a year later in the congress of the Architects’ Union, so it was in fact prophetic. I will come back to this congress at the end of my talk.

 

You should also pay attention to the car here, on its hood are the initials V.K., referring to Vilen Künnapu. This refers to Lapin’s idea of people being buried in cars, it was a reference to the growing consumerism and fascination with private cars, but also Künnapu was the first among this circle of architects to own a car. Another significant work by Lapin was the New Skyline of Tallinn, a project which foresaw future Tallinn as a city of skyscrapers. Several of them refer to the Russian avant-garde of the 1920s and Suprematism in particular, as Lapin was in that period also fascinated with Kazimir Malevich.

 

What I wanted also to point out here is this particular relationship to technology and progress: in these projects, and in his statements at the time, Lapin did not turn directly away from supporting new technologies, mechanization and industrialization. Quite the opposite, in some places he actually says that mechanization and automatization had not gone far enough, that the problem was not so much in technology but in its insufficient use. These rather untypical standpoints are also supported by several of his projects for the so-called houses-machines. Also Künnapu drew similar works at the time, often framing them as collage images, as in this work “A House above Manhattan”, an image of a house flying above the skyscrapers.

 

In the same series of representations is Ain Padrik’s “Exhibitionist structure”, an office building for the collective farm “Western Fisherman”. This is an axonometric drawing which has been made from a bottom-up perspective, showing a house which has been as if torn off from the ground with all its posts, pipes and beams, revealing a kind of hidden architecture that you see from underneath.

 

Another important topic related to the Tallinn School’s history is the influence of the American postmodernist architect Robert Venturi. One of the earliest cases when his name was mentioned was in 1973 in an article by Vilen Künnapu in the cultural newspaper Sirp ja Vasar. One year later, Venturi’s influence appears in a project by Veljo Kaasik, of a template sauna – a type project where a different façade is supposed to be added in different architectural context. Thus, next to a manor house you would have a historical façade; the project shows also how in an area with greenhouses, the sauna has a façade shaped like a greenhouse or in Tartu, where there is an area called Soup City, you would have a façade which looks like a soup bowl. So this is the Venturi’s principle of the decorated shed transpositioned to the Soviet context where the standard projects were seen as anonymous and alienating.

 

Kaasik reflected on this topic of transporting Venturi’s ideas into the Soviet context in writing. In 1979 he wrote an article “What to Think of Venturi?” questioning the ways his design principles would work in an entirely different political and economic context. The article was in the samizdat publications of architects. He himself designed a building along the lines of Venturi, a single-family dwelling for his brother who was an engineer. A public building with an interest in double façades and design principles from American postmodernism was Vilen Kunnapu’s project of a flower shop in the old city: there is a white box that includes the building’s programme and a separate concrete façade that contextualizes it with the old town historical features.

 

[fig. ALF04_KURG_okas] Jüri Okas, Paide petrol station, 1982

 

A third kind of example on the influence of Venturi’s ideas could be detected in a series of photographs taken by Jüri Okas, which he titled the Concise Dictionary of Modern Architecture. He was interested in the seemingly “ugly and ordinary” architecture, leftovers and ruins of modernization but also self-evolving and vernacular structures that could work as models for his own design work as an architect. So we could say that for Okas what represented modern architecture were the anonymously generated, the “erroneous” and banal rather than buildings by famous architects. Okas’s dictionary was published next to Kaasik’s article about Venturi in the Estonian architecture review Ehituskunst in 1982. In the same magazine Okas had also written a short text on his building for the Paide KEK Construction Company, a petrol station by the Tallinn-Tartu road which carried some features of Venturi’s approach: an idea of a double façade standing independently from the functional structure. He introduces the building however in a very idiosyncratic manner:

 

On the roadside are buildings that are completed, buildings that are under completion, decaying buildings, piles of gravel, piles of building panels, heaps of snow, heaps of hay, transformers, chimneys, telephone post, kilometre posts, drains, ploughed fields, unploughed fields, hills, pastures... From 1977-1980 another object was put up on the side of the Tallinn-Tartu road, a six metre high “decaying” wall. On the walls were written Paide KEK and behind it is the petrol station of the Paide KEK”.

 

So it shows how architecture had become another object added to all the previous ones, not organizing the environment but just contributing to the overall entropic growth.

 

As I mentioned before, a turning point in the history of the Tallinn School was the 12th Congress of the Estonian Architects’ Union in 1979; we could see several of its discussions were influenced by the critique voiced in the exhibition that had taken place one year before. The head of the Union, Mart Port (the one “buried” under one of the obelisks on Lapin’s drawing) addressed the new generation rather directly in his opening speech. He said:

 

according to psychologists, frustration with work appears among these averagely-abled people who have suggested themselves that they are very talented but are pressed down on purpose…that is most probably the cause of single cases of physical and mental self-exposure among young architects”.

 

We could probably understand the reference to self-exposure being related to the work of the architects’ wedding photographs, displayed at the exhibition, which broke out from the canons of what was generally considered to be an architectural show. Yet, as already mentioned, instead of finding support in suppressing the “young and angry ones” as they were called, Port himself had to leave the post which he had held for 24 years and a new head and board stepped to the front. The vice head of the union included now Toomas Rein, and another member of the group, Tiit Kaljundi became the leader of the union’s youth section. So, oppositional architects now became institutionalized, taking over the Architects Union that they had so far criticized. Their position could perhaps be understood from the point of view of how Tiit Kaljundi explained it in 2007: “we intended to utilize every legal opportunity to make changes rather than to stand as dissidents ‒ as a wrestler has to be in direct contact with his opponents”.

 

[fig. ALF04_KURG_looveer2] Avo-Himm Looveer, Autumn storm in architecture, 1982, watercolor

 

I want to draw this talk to a close by showing the second exhibition of the group (now consisting of only 10 members), at the “Tallinn Art Salon” in 1982-83. This was rather different in character, compared to the openly critical exhibition in 1978. First of all, it took place in a closed art salon space in the Art Hall building, not in the open foyer as in the Academy of Sciences building. This closed character was even more underlined by the window covers designed by Jüri Okas: pink and light blue broken grid-like structures, in accordance to the changed fashion in architecture. So unlike the previous show, the exhibition was not seen from the street. Also the character of the drawings had changed; instead of the direct political opposition, more careful drawings and watercolours were presented. And most importantly, the framework for the architects to act in transforming the environment seems to have changed, at least in some of the works. Avo-Himm Looveer’s watercolour called “Autumn storm in architecture” showed how panel house areas are gradually drowning in the water. It was nature which had taken over, rather than architects’ interventions like burial grounds or agrarian parks, which still aimed to integrate the modernist city and inject new life into it. Now the new town was drowned and no proposals were given as to what would come instead.

 

I would like to stop almost in the same way as I started: here is the group of architects standing in the building of the Art Hall in 1982, ten members now instead of fourteen, representing a withdrawal from the directly interventionist and political attitudes to an interest in the discipline’s own conventions and means of representation. Thank you.

 

1 Mati Unt, “Arhitektuurinäitus,” Sirp ja Vasar, June 9, 1978, 8.

2 Mati Unt, Sügisball. – Looming 1978, no. 9, lk. 1433.

 

ALF 04
CRITICAL PRACTICES IN THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE BALTIC REGION. WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LOLITA JABLONSKIENĖ

Lolita Jablonskienė. I would like to introduce our speakers of this really inspiring discussion. We have here our guest from Riga – Ieva Zībārte – who is an architect, writer and also a creative director of a company called Modernists, which puts on exhibitions, conducts research, and works in the field of architecture and design. I had the pleasure of personally seeing an exhibition that she curated on the work of the Latvian architect Marta Staņa in 2010, which was awarded with the special Latvian prize for architecture. So she’s also a curator.

 

Our second guest speaker is Ingrid Ruudi from Tallinn. She’s an architectural historian with an interest in critical and participatory spatial practices and urban spaces. Many of you may know her from the very interesting Estonian project that was presented in the Architectural Biennale in Venice in 2008 – the famous gas pipe that connected the German and Russian pavilions in a rather provocative way; Ingrid was the curator of this project. And in 2011 she was behind one of the projects of Tallinn as the European cultural capital: the LIFT11 project.

And our third speaker is Marija Drėmaitė who is also an architectural historian with an interest in the architectural, social and technological processes of the 20th century, both in Lithuania and the wider Baltic and Nordic region. We are very grateful to Marija, and are happy and proud that she is one of the co-authors of the long-awaited book “Architecture in Soviet Lithuania”.

 

Before we start talking, or the real speakers start to talk, I want to propose a few remarks to encourage the discussion. In my opinion the general subject of “dissidence through architecture” and the particular topic of today’s talk sound slightly different because these ‘boundaries of critical practices’ or ‘practicing critically in the Baltic region’ topically integrate into the present discourse of revising and rewriting general art histories as well as the architectural art histories of Eastern Central European countries. The theoretician Susan Buck-Morss has written quite recently about the post-communist condition which is usually associated with Eastern Central Europe, in that it is not only affecting Eastern Europe; it does not have a spatial but rather a temporal character and therefore describes a historic moment in which we all, she says, we are all globally situated, not just in the Eastern Central part of Europe. In other words, these communist conditions describe a historic and universal condition of contemporaneity, meaning of today. Therefore, revision or the rewriting of art history, architecture history included, is not only an issue that is urgent or topical for the countries that have freed themselves from a totalitarian regime, meaning this is not a regional issue but also a global one, a geographical but temporal issue. This, I think, is confirmed also by the approach which has been suggested by Ines Weizman, the curator of these series of talks. She chose the term or the concept of the dissident, which actually describes some specific modes and forms of being in a social political context and these modes, not always, or rather most often, do not correspond with the notion of social activism that was generated and later integrated in the West. She borrows the term dissidence from the context of Eastern Central Europe but suggests that it be expanded in its instrumentality in the global context and in various historical temporalities and also in the contemporary.

 

The main keywords of today’s talk, architecture as a critical practice and the boundaries of this critical practice encourage our speakers and us to embark on further discussion to highlight the events and the phenomena that were forgotten by the Soviet historiography of architecture. We could remember for instance the paradox that was formulated by the famous semiotician Yuri Lotman, himself a dissident who practiced semiotics and the theory of culture in the Soviet era, applying theories that had very little or rather nothing to do with the prominent Marxist ideology. Lotman says that when one conceives culture as a text, one should remember that new texts are created not only in the culture of contemporary time, but also in the past. During the history of culture there have always been things discovered anew, things that have been forgotten and sort of dug out or the dust has been swept from them. According to Lotman, this is the normal functioning of the paradigm of remembering and forgetting. So, on the one hand, we have an opportunity to remember certain things that have been deleted from our memory because of one or another reason. On the other, we have a chance to articulate our history with the help of the new specific critical categories, which revise not only the history itself but our thinking – the traditional academic thinking and research.

 

We are going to speak about the history of architecture as a practice, but not about the history of architecture as the history of objects. I believe our talk today is one of the clear examples of architectural practice which is not an object, it’s not even material if you wish. The second question to rethink – what is the critical practice in architecture in general? Would it be something that we automatically associate with the notion of avant-garde that is established in art history in general? When one understands avant-garde as a socially critical or at least socially sensitive practice? Avant-garde practice is associated with an avant-garde artist and in the case of Lithuania it would be George Mačiūnas, the Fluxus artist who was professionally trained as an architect, and who published an article entitled “The Grand Frauds of Architecture” in 1964, talking about Mies, Frank Lloyd Wright, Saarinen, and others. Is this an example of the critical architectural practice or the boundaries of understanding which is a critical practice or is it wider and more complicated than that?

ALF 04
IEVA ZĪBĀRTE. NECENZŪRUOTAS SUSIŽAVĖJIMAS. 10 TYLIOJO DISIDENTIŠKUMO FORMŲ ARCHITEKTĖS MARTOS STANJOS GYVENIME IR KŪRYBOJE
picture
Ieva Zībārte ir Marija Drėmaitė Nacionalinėje dailės galerijoje, 2013 m.

Iš pradžių aš ruošiausi kalbėti apie Baltijos šalių architektų ryšius su Vakarais, bet kai pamačiau, kad šių paskaitų auditorija yra tokia jauna, supratau, kad būtų labai svarbu Lietuvos studentams pristatyti nuostabios latvių architektės Martos Stanjos (Marta Staņa) gyvenimą ir kūrybą. Pirmiausia trumpai norėčiau papasakoti, kaip aš pati ją atradau.

2001 metais gyvenau Londone ir Barbikano galerijoje teko aplankyti dizainerių Lucienne ir Robino Day retrospektyvinę parodą. Mane visiškai užbūrė jų dizainas. Apskritai tuo metu Britanijoje buvo pradedamas atrasti ir pripažinti pokario paveldas. Buvo nemažai diskutuojama apie Festivalio rūmus (1951), Centre Point dangoraižį (1966) ir brutalizmo architektūrą. Daugelis svarbių to laikotarpio pastatų pradėti iš naujo vertinti, jiems suteiktas kultūros paveldo objekto statusas. Kai grįžau namo į Rygą, pradėjau daugiau domėtis ir daugiau rašyti apie moderniąją Latvijos architektūrą. Ėmiau interviu iš vieno Latvijos architekto, gyvenančio Australijoje, mes daug kalbėjome apie Latvijos architektūros paveldą ir jis paklausė: „Kodėl visi taip domisi art nouveau / secesine architektūra?“ Iš tiesų, tuo metu Latvijoje buvo labai domimasi art nouveau ir art deco stiliais, palikimu, jis tapo turistų traukos objektu ir pan. „Kodėl jūs nesidomite pokarine architektūra, kodėl nekalbate apie Martą Stanją – ji suprojektavo tokius įdomius namus ir teatrą Rygoje?“ – klausė mano pašnekovas. Paradoksalu – aš pati studijavau architektūrą Rygoje, bet nebuvau girdėjusi apie Martą Stanją, apie ją niekas nekalbėjo.

 

Eksperimentinis gyvenamasis namas Rygoje (1967), 2010 m. nuotr., iliustracija iš I. Zibartės pranešimo Architektūros [pokalbių] fondo paskaitoje, 2013 m.

Pažvelgus į dabartinę Martos Stanjos suprojektuoto eksperimentinio namo būklę, tikrai sunku būtų paaiškinti, kuo jis vertingas, kodėl ir ką čia reikėtų išsaugoti, kuo jis apskritai yra įdomus. Dabar jis apleistas ir taip skiriasi nuo to, koks buvo suprojektuotas ir pastatytas 1967 metais. Jaučiu, kad ir Lietuvoje pasitaiko nemažai tokių atvejų. Taigi, tokia buvo pradžia, taip aš atradau Martą Stanją. Savo pirmą straipsnį apie ją parašiau 2003 metais – lygiai prieš dešimt metų. Tada jai būtų buvę 90 metų, ji mirė 1972-aisiais. Taip aš pradėjau savo tyrimą – tai nebuvo akademinis ar mokslinis tyrimas – aš pradėjau kaip žurnalistė. Tai buvo tiriamoji žurnalistika – paremta tyrimais ir interviu, taigi nelabai nutolusi nuo akademinių tyrimų pobūdžio. Skaičiau senus žurnalus, rinkau žmonių atsiminimus. Viskas vystėsi ir galiausiai surengiau didelę parodą. Tačiau kai mane pakvietė į šią paskaitą pakalbėti apie Martą Stanją kaip apie disidentę, aš nenorėjau su tuo sutikti, nes niekada jos tokia nelaikiau. Paskui ilgai galvojau šia tema ir nusprendžiau – gerai, pamėginsiu papasakoti apie ją kaip apie disidentę, bet apie labai tylią disidentę.

Taigi, nutariau jums pristatyti dešimt Martos Stanjos disidentiškumo būdų. Pasitikslinau disidentiškumo terminą Collins English žodyne. Čia rašoma, jog disidentas yra asmuo, kuris nesutinka su vyriausybine pozicija. Kažkuria prasme tą galima įžvelgti Martos Stanjos veikloje, jos darbuose, nors ji niekada nėra viešai šiais klausimais pasisakiusi.

 

Viešbutis „Ryga“, konkursinis projektas, maketas, 1948-1949 m., iliustracija iš I. Zibartės pranešimo Architektūros [pokalbių] fondo paskaitoje, 2013 m.

Pirmiausia, be abejonės, tai būtų modernizmas. Dar penktajame dešimtmetyje ji su profesoriumi Ernestu Štālbergu parengė modernistinį konkursinį projektą, o juk žinote, kad 1948–1949 metais stalinistinė estetika architektūroje dar buvo labai stipri. Jų projektas buvo smarkiai sukritikuotas ir nėra net kalbos, kad jis būtų galėjęs laimėti. Penktojo dešimtmečio pabaigoje susibūrė kūrybinis kolektyvas – jauna tamsiaplaukė moteris ir pagyvenęs profesorius – Marta Stanja ir Ernestas Štālbergas, juos siejo tikrai gilus profesinis ryšys.

 

Marta Staņa su Ernestu Štālbergu ir studentais, apie 1948. Nuotr. iš Latvijos architektūros muziejaus

Štālbergas buvo vienintelis po karo likęs Latvijoje prieškario modernizmo meistras, jis dėstė studentams ir vadovavo jų darbams. Dar 1935 metais jis buvo Laisvės paminklo Rygoje architektas. Taigi jis vienintelis liko, neemigravo ir nebuvo ištremtas į Sibirą, ir toliau dirbo Latvijos universitete, o Marta Stanja tapo jo asistente. Tad jos modernizmas buvo glaudžiai susijęs su Štālbergo architektūros mokykla. Deja, penktojo dešimtmečio pabaigoje po politinio valymo jiems teko palikti universitetą. Štālbergas tuo metu jau buvo gana senas ir galėjo išeiti į pensiją, o Stanjai teko ieškoti vietos ir būdo toliau dirbti ir tapti architekte.

 

Vidurinė mokykla Zvejniekciemyje, Maijos Rudovskos nuotr., 2010 m.

Kita jos disidentiškumo forma būtų holistinis požiūris. Šeštojo dešimtmečio pabaigoje ji suprojektavo labai įdomią mokyklą, ji veikia iki šiol. Tiesa, šiuo metu vykdoma Europinė energinio efektyvumo programa – mokyklą apšiltino, tačiau ir tai iš esmės nesugadino originalaus vaizdo. Mokykla buvo pastatyta dar prieš prasidedant standartinių mokyklų bangai. Stanjos projektą galima pavadinti šveicariška-suomiška architektūra, nes kiekviena klasė turi savo atskirą įėjimą iš lauko, yra natūraliai apšviečiama, taigi yra labai susieta su gamta. Puikus projektas – jis pasižymi tokiomis savybėmis – grynas oras, sveikas pastatas ir pan., apie kurias kalbama dabar. Vėliau ji dar suprojektavo priestatą su plaukimo baseinu, tačiau jis niekada nebuvo pastatytas. Tuo metu Latvijoje tikrai niekas neprojektavo taip, kaip ji.

Dar viena disidentiškumo forma laikyčiau nacionalizmą. Toks, sakyčiau, labai ornamentinis nacionalizmas. Ji draugavo su meistrais, amatininkais (arba liaudies meistrais, kaip juos vadino sovietiniais laikais), kurie audė tekstilės gaminius su latviškais ornamentais. Ji draugavo su tekstilininke Erna Rubene, jos abi kūrė baldų kolekcijas, panaudodamos nemažai latviškų liaudies meno elementų. Marta Stanja tikrai nemažai jų sukūrė.

 

Modernas meno galerija Uzvaros parke, 1967 m., iliustracija iš I. Zibartės pranešimo Architektūros [pokalbių] fondo paskaitoje, 2013 m.

Dar viena disidentiškumo forma būtų skaidrumas, kad ir ką tai reikštų – palieku tai jūsų kontempliacijai. Žymiausias jos projektas Rygoje, be abejo, buvo Dailes teatras – labai įdomus projektas. 1959 metais buvo surengtas šio teatro projektų konkursas ir Marta Stanja netikėtai jį laimėjo, už nugaros palikusi nemažai pripažintų architektų. Nors pats konkursas nebuvo labai lengvas – pirmosios vietos apskritai niekam neskyrė, o Stanja laimėjo antrąją. Pagrindinis elementas jos projekte buvo skaidri, visiškai perregima stiklo fojė. Tas jos skaidrumas buvo toks naivus, nes tais laikais niekas nebuvo skaidru. Žmonės rinkdavosi už uždarų durų, pusiau slapčia, virtuvėse ir tyliai kalbėdavo apie savo gyvenimus. O ji pasiūlė labai atvirą architektūrą. Panašiai ji suprojektavo ir kitą objektą – Dailės galeriją Uzvaros parke, kuri sudaryta iš atskirų permatomų tūrių, skirtų skirtingoms funkcijoms.

 

Dailes teatro fojė, piešinys, 1964 m., iliustracija iš I. Zibartės pranešimo Architektūros [pokalbių] fondo paskaitoje, 2013 m.

Penktuoju jos disidentiškumo būdu laikyčiau tikėjimą neįmanomu. Pavyzdžiui, projektuodama tą patį Dailes teatrą, toje pačioje permatomoje fojė Marta Stanja nupiešė išsipuošusias moteris. Bet įsivaizduokite, kur sovietiniais laikais taip išsipuošusios moterys galėjo eiti? Bet Stanja nuolat kūrė tokias vietas – jos atrodo neįmanomos, todėl aš laikau tai savotišku disidentiškumu. Ji taip pat projektavo ir parduotuvių vitrinas, ji buvo puiki piešėja ir apskritai menininkė. Tuose savo piešiniuose ji vaizdavo prašmatnų gyvenimą, kurio čia nebuvo, – žmones, buriuojančius jachtomis ir vilkinčius puikiais rūbais. 

 

Grįžtant prie architektūros – ji visada buvo truputį drąsesnė už kitus, ir tai aš taip pat laikyčiau disidentiškumo požymiu. Nors sovietinės statybinių medžiagų ir technologijų galimybės ar kokybė beveik niekada neprilygo jos pasiūlytoms idėjoms, ji vis tiek siūlė sprendimus, kurių buvo beveik neįmanoma įgyvendinti. Pavyzdžiui, ji suprojektavo kraštovaizdžio apžvalgos bokštą ant aukščiausios Latvijoje Gaizinkalnio kalvos. Vis dėlto vėliau jai teko supaprastinti savo projektą ir tik antrasis variantas buvo pastatytas devintajame dešimtmetyje, jau po jos mirties (gaila, bet šiemet šis bokštas buvo nugriautas).

 

Nacionalinio teatro Budapešte konkursinis projektas, 1965 m., iliustracija iš I. Zibartės pranešimo Architektūros [pokalbių] fondo paskaitoje, 2013 m.

Dar vienas pavyzdys, kur Marta Stanja pademonstravo savo avangardinį požiūrį lyginant netgi su Vakarų architektais, buvo konkursinis projektas Budapešto nacionaliniam teatrui. Konkursas vyko dar modernizmo klestėjimo laikais, bet savo projekte ji pasiūlė tokias dekonstruktyvias formas, kurios įprastai pasirodo tik vėlyvuoju sovietmečiu ar postmodernizmo laikotarpiu, ar net šių dienų moterų architekčių projektuose.

Manyčiau, kad dar viena įdomi ir svarbi Martos Stanjos disidentiškumo forma buvo ištikimybė profesijai. Ji buvo visiškai atsidavusi savo profesijai ir labai lojali savo kolegoms ir draugams. Ji be atlygio padėdavo kolegoms ir studentams, skatino ir užtarė savo bendradarbius, yra suprojektavusi jiems vasarnamių. Vienas pavyzdys gal nėra toks linksmas, bet ji projektavo ir antkapius savo draugams.

Paprovokuodama pasakysiu, kad ir skaičius laikau vienu iš jos disidentiškumo bruožų. Dalyvaudama konkursuose Marta Stanja savo projektus visuomet pasirašydavo skaičių slapyvardžiais, pavyzdžiui 12345, 555 ar 111 (dalyvaujant konkurse negalima rašyti savo vardo, tik slapyvardį). Kiti architektai pasirinkdavo žodinius variantus, neretai visokius socialistinius simbolius, pavyzdžiui, „raudonasis kubas“ ar „liepsna“. Ji laimėjo teatro konkursą su projektu, pasirašytu „111“. Šį dalyką aš pasitelkiau parodoje 2010 metais – tuos skaičius panaudojau parodos dizaine – ji ir jos skaičiai. Beje, ji nepaliko jokių užrašų, laiškų ar dienoraščių ir nežinome, kodėl ji pasirinkdavo tuos skaičius, bet tai akivaizdu visuose projektuose.

Feminizmas – tai dar viena tema, į kurią norėčiau atkreipti dėmesį. Nesakyčiau, kad nuo pat pradžių ji buvo sąmoninga feministė. Vienoje nuotraukoje ji yra užfiksuota su Andriu Holtsmaniu prieš pat studijų pabaigą, tačiau jie nebuvo pora – tiesiog studijų draugai. Ir jos asmeninis gyvenimas klostėsi gana nuosekliai – ji nebuvo ištekėjusi ir niekada neturėjo vaikų, o vėliau labai artimai bendravo su moterimis iš meno pasaulio. Pavyzdžiui, su jau minėta Erna Rubene ‒ mes konkrečiai nežinome, kaip Marta Stanja apibūdino tą situaciją, tačiau Rubenė irgi niekada nebuvo ištekėjusi ir neturėjo vaikų. Erna Rubenė paliko nemažai užrašų, kuriuose atsispindi jos pažiūros, ir galima tik daryti prielaidas, kad Martos Stanjos pažiūros buvo panašios, todėl kad jos praleido drauge tikrai daug laiko kalbėdamos apie šiuos dalykus. Erna Rubenė kartą labai piktai atsiliepė apie žinutę spaudoje, kurioje senmergės (būtent šis žodis) buvo laikomos blogais visuomenės nariais, kadangi neturi vaikų. Savo atsiliepime ji rašo, kad tokie žmonės yra labai svarbūs, nes daug laiko skiria jaunimo švietimui, mokymui, darbui su studentais ir būsimųjų kartų rengimui.

Taigi, asmeniniai pasirinkimai taip pat buvo jos disidentiškumo būdas. Marta Stanja gyveno su savo seserimis, kurios taip pat buvo netekėjusios ir neturėjo vaikų, o mirė ji nuo vėžio. Ji niekada nebuvo komunistų partijos narė, netgi nekalbėjo rusiškai. Kiekvieną kartą, kai aš kalbu apie ją, manęs klausia – bet kaipgi ji galėjo kurti tokius projektus, kaip ji žinojo, kas vyksta anapus geležinės uždangos, ir kaip ji sugebėjo sugalvoti tokius avangardinius projektus netgi lyginant su Vakarų architektais? Bet architektai iš Baltijos respublikų galėjo – jie žinojo. Jie daug keliavo, grupėmis ir pavieniui, jie skaitė užsienio architektūros žurnalus, jie lankėsi parodose, jie rengė diskusijas, jie žiūrėjo užsienietiškus filmus, jie rašė laiškus, jie klausė radijo, jie turėjo puikius mokytojus, jie turėjo žinių ir jie palaikė ryšius. Bet yra dar daugybė istorijų ir faktų, kuriuos norėčiau atskleisti apie tai ir apie Martą Stanją.

ALF 04
IEVA ZĪBĀRTE. 10 QUIET FORMS OF DISSIDENCE OF THE ARCHITECT MARTA STAŅA
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Ieva Zibarte and Marija Drėmaitė at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius, 2013

IEVA ZĪBĀRTE

UNCENSORED ADMIRATION. 10 QUIET FORMS OF DISSIDENCE IN THE LIFE AND WORK THE ARCHITECT MARTA STAŅA

Good evening and thank you for having me here. Originally, I was going to talk about Baltic connections with the West, meaning each of the three countries, but when I saw that the audience was so young, I thought that I would introduce the Lithuanian students of architecture to the wonderful architect Marta Staņa, but before that I wanted to tell you about how I got into post-war architecture.

In 2001 I was living in London and I attended a retrospection of Lucienne and Robin Day at the Barbican gallery. I became absolutely fascinated by their design and also this was a time when Britain as a country was starting to recognize its post-war heritage. There were lots of discussions taking place about the Festival Hall and Centre Point, and also brutalist architecture. All these big important buildings were awarded heritage grades and deemed as important and valuable. And when I returned I went back to a more contemporary period and I did lots of reviews on modern architecture and contemporary architecture back in Riga in Latvia. I interviewed one Latvian architect living in Australia and we talked about the heritage of Latvian architecture and he asked: “why is everyone so interested in Art Nouveau?” This was a time when Art Nouveau and art déco were interesting and they were marketed as tourism products and so on. “Why are you not talking about post-war designs, why are you not talking about Marta Staņa – she’s got this amazing housing project and theatre in Riga?” And although I had studied architecture in Riga, I’d never heard of Marta Staņa – she was never mentioned.

 

Experimental house in Riga (1967), in 2010, picture from I. Zibarte's presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013

 

This is how Marta Staņa’s experimental housing project looks like right now – how on earth can you explain to people that this is something important, something that they should preserve or save or promote it as an interesting thing? It looks so much different from what was designed and even different from when it was built in 1967. There probably will be pretty much similar examples here in Lithuania. So this was the start – this is how I discovered Marta Staņa. I wrote my first article on her in 2003, that’s exactly 10 years ago. She would have been 90 at a time, she died in 1972. And so that’s how I started my research; I started not as a scholar or as a teacher at university – I was a journalist. And I did this journalism based on investigation and interviews. In many ways it’s no different from what people at universities are doing. I did the same thing – I read old magazines and I interviewed people. It all developed and later I did a big exhibition. But when I was asked to participate in these talks and to talk about Marta Staņa as a dissident, I was very much against it, because she would be considered as a dissident. But then I thought it over and over again and I thought OK, we can speak about her as a dissident but of course as a very quiet dissident.

So, I will introduce you to ten quiet forms of dissidence along with Marta Staņa’s work. And just to remind you what dissidence means I have put up its definition from the Collins English Dictionary. It talks about a person who disagrees with the government. In some ways this was true about Marta Staņa, although she would never openly talk about it, but from what we see in her work it was dissidence.

 

Hotel Riga, competition entry, model, 1948-1949, picture from I. Zibarte's presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013

 

So, the first example of dissidence in Marta Staņa’s work is of course Modernity. This is a competition entry which she did with her professor Ernests Štālbergs in the late 40’s. You know that in 1948-1949 there were still very strong Stalinist aesthetics. So this competition entry was way too modern and it was very heavily criticized, and of course it didn’t win.

 

Marta Staņa as an assistant to Ernests Štālbergs with students, ca. 1948, Latvian Museum of Architecture

 

And here is an example of students back in the 40’s – this young woman with dark hair and the old professor – that’s Marta Staņa and Ernests Štālbergs. They had a very close professional relationship, because Ernests Štālbergs was the only one who had stayed in Latvia [after the war] and who was teaching the Modern Movement and was leading workshops with the students who made very modern proposals. He was also an architect of the Freedom Monument in Riga (1935), but that’s another subject of course, so he was the only one who didn’t go abroad or wasn’t sent to Siberia and subsequently he worked at the University of Latvia with Marta Staņa as his assistant. They were forced to leave the university after there had been a cleansing procedure [purge]. So the reason behind Modernity was this close relationship with Štālbergs. And when they both left the university, Štālbergs was already quite old and could retire, but Marta Staņa had to work to support herself and fulfil her dream of becoming an architect.

 

Secondary school in Zvejniekciems. Photo by Maija Rudovska, 2010

 

Another example of dissidence is a Holistic Approach. In the late 50’s she designed a very interesting school that is still operating as a school today. Today some European energy efficiency project is going on, but the school still looks very much as it did when it was built. That was before all these standard schools started appear. She did this kind of Swiss-Finnish style architecture, where each classroom had its own entry and was naturally sun lit, and was connected to the nature. Amazing work – it has all the features that we are talking about now, such as fresh air and a healthy building. Later on, she suggested an extension with a swimming pool but it was never built. No one did designs like that in Latvia at that time.

Another form of dissidence would be Nationalism but in a very ornamental way, I would say. She was friends with, I couldn’t find the English name for them, but the craft masters who do textiles with Latvian ornaments. She was friends with Erna Rubene, they both did together these furniture collections incorporating Latvian folk ornaments. You can see quite a lot of such examples in Marta Staņa’s work.

 

Modern Art Galleries in Uzvaras Victory Park, 1967, picture from I. Zibarte's presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013

 

Another form of dissidence would certainly be Transparency, whatever that means, I’ll leave this for you to contemplate. Her most famous project that you can still see in central Riga is Dailes Theatre – a very interesting project. There was a competition held in 1959, of which Marta Staņa was the surprise winner because there were many high profile architects participating who didn’t win. But obviously, I guess, it wasn’t that clean because first place wasn’t awarded at all, so she won the second prize. The main feature of her design was a glass foyer which was completely transparent – in a way this transparency was so naïve because nothing was transparent in those times. People were closing doors and, you know, gathering in kitchens and talking quietly about their lives. But she proposed very transparent architecture. Another one of her designs is the Art Gallery in Uzvaras Park with separate transparent boxes for each function.

 

Dailes Theatre in Riga, drawing of interior hall, 1964, picture from I. Zibarte's presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013

 

And I’ve put dissidence in number 5 – Believing in the impossible. For the same foyer of the Dailes Theatre she proposed a large transparent hall with all the beautiful ladies in the drawing. Imagine the Soviet times and where one would go? Nevertheless, she would still keep designing these kinds of things – it seems impossible and I find it very dissident. She did window display designs for shops, she did all sorts of things and she was very good drawer, and a very good artist. In her drawings we see a world where people go on boats and wear wonderful clothes.

Going back to architecture, she was always one step too brave and I would say this was also a dissident move because the ideas of hers and other architects would never go together with the building quality and materials available at that time, but she would still propose these designs that were not possible to build. This is an example of a Viewing tower in the countryside on our highest hill Gaizinkalns. Later she simplified her proposal ‒ this was proposal number 2, which was built in a very different way in the 1980’s, a long time after her death and sadly this year it was demolished.

 

National theatre in Budapest, competition entry, 1965, picture from I. Zibarte's presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013

 

This is another example of being one step ahead of many architects even in the West. She did this in the times of Modernism. It was a competition for the National Theatre in Budapest, and she suggested these already kind of deconstructed volumes that we can see much later in Postmodern designs and in the designs of female architects today.

I also suggest that one interesting and important form of dissidence in Marta Staņa’s life was Loyalty. She was very loyal to her profession and she was very loyal to her colleagues and friends. She would help without wanting payment and she would help students, she would promote her fellow workers ‒ she would design summer houses for them. This might not be such a happy and positive example but she also did designs for graveyards for her friends later in her life. And this is one of the most interesting examples which remains in a relatively good state ‒ there are not so many works that we can see today of Marta Staņa.

Just to add some buzz, I would put forward Numbers as a form of dissidence. When Marta Staņa participated in competitions she would always (when you do a competition entry you have to mark your work, so it doesn’t have your name on) name her competition entries by numbers, like 12345 or 111. Fellow architects would write something like “red cube” or “flame” or all these Soviet-kind of slogan titles. She won the theatre competition with 111, so she would have 555 or 12345, I decided to incorporate these numbers in an exhibition design in 2010 ‒ so this is her and her numbers. She never left any letters or diaries and we don’t know why she did it but it’s obvious from the documents.

Feminism is another theme that could be suggested. She didn’t start out as an obvious feminist. That is her and Andris Holtsmanis, it’s just before graduation, but it’s not any sort of boyfriend or girlfriend thing, they’re just friends at university. But her destiny was very interesting in the sense that she never married, never had any children and later developed very close relationships with female artists. And this is Erna Rubene ‒ we don’t actually know what Marta Staņa thought about the situation but Rubene also never married and never had any children. Rubene left quite a lot of written notes about her views and some of those views were definitely Marta Staņa’s views because they spent so much time together talking about these things. Erna Rubene once wrote very angrily about so-called spinsters who were not considered good because they were not having any children and in which she gave a strong opinion that they were indeed very very important in educating the younger generation and spending time with and teaching students.

As I mentioned earlier, Personal Choices was also a form of dissidence. Marta Staņa died from cancer ‒ she lived together with her sisters, who also never married and never had any children. She was not a Communist party member and she did not speak Russian. There are lots of stories yet to be discovered about that and this would give us more inside information on Staņa.

Every time I talk about Marta Staņa I hear questions such as: how on earth could she design? How could she know what was going on behind the Iron Curtain and be one step ahead? But architects from the Baltic countries knew ‒ they travelled a lot in groups and alone, they read magazines, they visited exhibitions, they organised discussion clubs, they watched (Swedish) movies, they wrote letters, they listened to the radio, they had great teachers, they had knowledge, and they were connected.

ALF 04
INGRID RUUDI CRITICAL ARCHITECTURE BETWEEN PERESTROIKA AND INDEPENDENCE? GROUP T ARCHITECTS IN TALLINN
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Thank you for inviting me here and organising this very nice series. I would like to use the occasion to present some ideas from my ongoing research. I will focus on the period from 1986 to 1991, which is the period between the beginning of perestroika and, in the case of Estonia, the re-establishing of Independence.

If we think about the issue of architecture and dissidence, perhaps this period would not be the first that would come to mind. But it is especially because of this that I am intrigued with what could be a critical position for an architect during these troubling times, when everything was changing very fast, when Soviet rule was crumbling and the whole of society seemingly consolidated towards one goal to re-establish independence. Where is the dissidence when there is no clear opponent or where do you base your critical position on?

The 1960s and 1970s have been quite well researched in Estonian architecture, however one cannot say the same about the 1980s. The same goes for art contexts, where also the 1960s and 1970s have been thoroughly researched with all these concepts of dissidence and official and unofficial art. But the 1980s, especially the second half of it, are much more uncertain. Two years ago a volume of “The Lost 80s” was published. It encompassed issues from painting to graphic design, from photography to performance, but architecture was totally missing from it. This means that the architectural history of the second half of the 1980s remains to be written.

The Soviet period is usually represented in these issues of dissidence by the Tallinn school, which has been thoroughly researched. The 1990s are widely talked about as the new era with a new generation, with new neo-modernist architects who had a very sober and rational attitude. But between these two there is an interesting grouping who has, so far, been almost dismissed from the architectural history because they were especially strong in other fields of art. Here I’m talking about the radical interdisciplinary grouping called Rühm T or GROUP T which was a collective of creative individuals ranging from painters, designers, musicians and a philosopher, but it was the initiative of two architects called Raoul Kurvitz and Urmas Muru. They were notorious in Estonian art history for initiating trans-avantgardist neo-impressionist paintings and by introducing the practice of the very mystical ritualistic, very spectacular performances. They had strong ties to the music scene, with punk rock and later techno. They were also very important for backing up their activities with fresh French post-structuralist philosophy, which was more or less unknown to most of their audience and ultimately all this flamboyance of their activities overshadowed the architecture.

They had this Tallinn school generation ahead of them who by the middle of the 1980s had established themselves quite well and who had made their mark, at some points they even started to try international competitions; so one could say that by the 1980s they were beginning to institutionalize. The Tallinn school’s opposition to Soviet mass housing and the stressing of individuality and their neo-functionalist or postmodernist tendencies seemed, at that point, as perhaps the only way to maintain a resistant position. But the inspirations for GROUP T were very different from the start. They were lured by new tendencies that later came to be amalgamated under the title Deconstructivist architecture. Of course, their architecture was a far cry from the heavy theoretical conceptualisation of Bernard Tschumi or Coop Himmelb(l)au but they took it from the air and their perceived disadvantages as architects who were working in the industrial project, which was widely considered as the least imaginative place to work in the Estonian architectural system, they turned to their advantage and wrote the Manifesto Of Technodelic Expressionalist architecture.

[ALF04_Ruudi_1] Raoul Kurvitz, Urmas Muru, page of Manifesto Of Technodelic Expressionalist architecture, picture from I. Ruudi presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013]

They somehow managed to convince their official industrial project office to publish this leaflet of quite anachronistic architecture, which was not related to the everyday practice of this office at all. The Manifesto of Technodelic Expressionism is a text deliberately full of paradoxes starting from the name which merges technology and psychedelic. The name was explained as a revelation of the technological world in a state of trance. The text called for “completely new architectural sensibility that would combine contemporary technological advances and absolute subjectivity, a juxtaposition of industrial and organic impulses. This kind of architecture must be born from hallucinations and ecstasy, it is an environment for dreams and for realizing one’s hidden passions. Technodelic expressionist designs as if delivering erotic confession. Architectural forms are the residual products of emotions”. This is a passionate manifesto that can, for instance, be compared to Coop Himmelb(l)au’s calls for architecture that must blaze, architecture that must be either cold as ice or flaming as fire.

This was a call for emotionality, corporeity and irrational tendencies in architecture. But at the same time, which was important from my point of view, this also worked as a distorting mirror for the general national romanticist spirit of the end of the 1980s. Quoting again from the manifesto, they called functionalism the national environmental art that most adequately expressed the Estonians’ reserved rationality and conservatism, and they demanded that the same internally directed energy would now be released and hurled in the opposite direction. So they called for a revolution that, in a way, went with the spirit of the times, but at the same time called into question the national environmental design and thereby also the adequacy of the national identity.

[ALF04_Ruudi_2] Travelling exhibition of Estonian private house architecture, exhibition design by Raoul Kurvitz, Urmas Muru, Velle Kadalipp, 1984, picture from I. Ruudi presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013]

This nuance takes us back from the very first manifestation of their ideas, when they were exhibition designers of the individual residential projects’ exhibition in 1984. Building an individual residence was widely accepted as resistant practice ‒ the Tallinn school architects were widely engaged in it, but their exhibition design tried to deconstruct the image and introduced somewhat threatening elements that referred to instability and called it into question.

[ALF04_Ruudi_3] Urmas Muru, Architectural drawings, picture from I. Ruudi presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013]

The majority of their architectural designs came in the form of drawings. There are several things that meet the eye when looking at the drawings of GROUP T. Firstly, of course, their formal references to expressionism and constructivism, but they are not conceived in anticipation of some kind of new utopian world. Although, when Urmas Muru wrote an article explaining the importance of the architectural drawings he made reference to Bruno Taut and Erich Mendelsohn in which he explained drawing as visions ahead of their time, but the actual drawings somehow give the expressionist forms a sinister touch. If they are the visions of architecture yet to come, it clearly means the anticipation of some kind of post-humanist era. Moreover, classically conceptual architectural drawings would hint at some kind of possible space that you can inhabit ‒ space as a container. But it is very hard to imagine that these drawings of Urmas Muru contain some kind of space, they are somehow hollow, they depict only exteriors, never interiors. They also do not hint at any kind of context or environment where these visions of buildings should fit into. Moreover, they are actually not conceptual drawings in a way that we would be tempted to think about, they are not pure visions but more like a presentation technique of their actual projects at the industrial project office. I mean that each of these drawings actually has a correlate as a building design. But they are representing their actual designs in a way that would be remarkably not realist, not having anything to do with the actual three-dimensional Soviet reality.

[ALF04_Ruudi_4] Peeter Pere, Kreenholm ice hockey hall, Narva, 1987, picture from I. Ruudi presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013]

Another of their group ‒ Peeter Pere ‒ went even further in this impulse of detaching drawings from reality. In his visions it is very hard to understand anything about the essence of the actual architectural design. It is quite peculiar that these are often presented as the official part of the design file or presented in very official overviews of the new designs that are to be built. I think that Pere’s drawings and gouache paintings go the furthest in his act of violence against architecture. Why I am talking about violence is very important in this context. It was a recurring theme both in their architecture and their performances and I think these two practices should be viewed together and not separately as they have been viewed thus far. Part of their understanding of violence was in tune with how Tschumi understood violence as a collision of architecture and the human body, violence as a productive category, and violence as a possibility of a change, renewal or a deeply Dionysiac impulse. Also Raoul Kurvitz has said that the goal is to find the way to use the energy of violence most productively. But at the same time it could also be likened to the understanding of Georges Bataille who has also written about violence against architecture. He has likened the role of architecture in a society to that of Lacan’s mirror stage in the development of the person. Creating architecture, in that sense, would constitute a mirror stage for a society ‒ for a social image. Architecture is the authorized superego of a society. Bataille also makes a very strong connection between the social and the bodily presence, and takes the very long Western tradition of equating body and architecture to a logical conclusion.

[ALF04_Ruudi_5] Performance OVAL, 1990, picture from I. Ruudi presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013]

The performance practice of GROUP T illustrates this theme of violence very well. A recurring theme of their heavily symbolic performance practice was balancing on the verge of self-destruction and the search of something inarticulate, often embodied by amorphous matter or archetypes. One of their most recurring working methods was to put themselves constantly under the question as a subject and to put themselves in a position of danger. For instance, Muru played the violin in flames. And there were performances which directly engaged the architectural space – the performance Oval ‒ which created an opposition between rational and irrational impulses. In the performance Peeter Pere was doing architectural work – painstakingly measuring the exact oval form which would correspond to the oval opening of the courtyard above him. From this oval opening a huge plastic sheet which was filled with water fell and later Urmas Muru was struggling inside this sheet, putting himself in a very dangerous situation, but representing the irrational creative impulse which was more productive than the rational activities below. There was also a performance called Eleonora, which also meant the violent clashing of random objects, culminating in a person hanging over a huge black plastic sheet that was swirling on the floor representing the formless or irrational moment.

And perhaps from the performances which most directly engaged architectural space took place in Helsinki in 1992. The performance had Urmas Muru balancing on a balcony rail. All the openings of the façade filled with black matter. His activities were correlated with music ‒ he was somehow conducting the building as this black matter started to pulsate from the façade upwards and then finally burst. It looked as if the building was spitting out some kind of the black matter, it was like a purging of the subconscious or just leaving the building as a hollow core.

[ALF04_Ruudi_6] Urmas Muru, Performance A rebours in Helsinki, 1992, picture from I. Ruudi presentation at Architecture Fund lecture, 2013]

I interpret their activities in performance and architecture as representing the buildings as masks or buildings as hollow beings. I am tempted to associate this with an idea taken from Alexei Yurchak’s recent interpretation of the last decades of Soviet Russia. He has proposed a much more nuanced understanding the situation of the final Soviet decades. He has described that a Soviet person’s relationship towards ideology was dynamic and situated, and seemingly contradictory positions and beliefs could be reconciled within a person’s mind. So it became increasingly important to reproduce the signifiers of the social orders, but behind the signifiers a much more complex system of practices took place. He has termed this reproduction of forms with shifting content as “heteronimical or performative shift”. In his interpretation, during the 1980s the appearance of the Soviet reality worked as a mask, behind it the people of this period were quite comfortably incorporating their heterological everyday practices and points of view. But it is important here that Yurchak says that they were doing it without fully being aware of it. This is also why perestroika succeeded ‒ something that started as just a reform, at one point tore up the system of rules which everybody had been unconsciously following up to that point, at one point it ripped the system out into the open and the society that had been a mask was now visible for everyone. So I think that the architecture and performance of GROUP T was in a way reflecting this area of the lowering of the masks. But at the same time it was also important that their critique was not directed only towards the Soviet system, it was also directed towards the very consolidated and very nationalistic tendencies of the time. For instance, when they proposed the Estonian art museum project, instead of building they chose to dig almost the whole programme inside the ground which would open only as a zigzag wound, the building volume as little as could be seen was more like a clash of rocks. They presented it as a modelling-clay model which was sunk in an aquarium filled with water that you could not actually see through.

In conclusion, these were the manifestations in architecture and performance. By 1991 they had finally arrived at actually voicing their opposition in this way. They published an article in an urban culture magazine MArK and this text was no less a manifesto than the earlier ones. “The policies of the press are pure as abstraction. The mechanics of power are within the people themselves. Power can be realised only in the city and on the streets. Anti-power can also be realised in the city and on the streets. Governments may change and the names of the countries may change. But power can only increase or decrease. Even if the state is overthrown, power is not”. It was written in 1991, it was the year when Estonia’s independence was legally restored. But this text explicitly presented an anarchic challenge to the processes. It also gave a clear expression of space as an agent that maintains social relationships and at the same time underscored the relationship between space and power.

So in the context of this series “Architecture and dissidence”, I am not sure if their activities can be termed dissident because you can only be a dissident if you have a clearly defined opposite side. I regard their activities more like different manifestations or articulations of critical opposition that needs to maintain a critical distance even at times when everybody seems to know the right way to do things.

 

ALF 04
Ivan RISTIĆ. BOGDANAS BOGDANOVIĆIUS – JUGOSLAVIJOS ARCHITEKTŪRA KEIČIANTIS POLITINIAMS REŽIMAMS
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Ivan Ristić (dešinėje) ir Ines Weizman Nacionalinėje dailės galerijoje, Vilnius, 2013. Nuotr.:

Pirmiausia norėčiau padėkoti už kvietimą skaityti paskaitą. Kodėl Bogdanas Bogdanovićius? Esu iš Belgrado, o Bogdanas Bogdanovićius nuo 1982 iki 1986 m. buvo šio miesto meras. Daugelis žmonių iki šiol netiki, kaip jis galėjo būti disidentas komunistinio režimo metais. Bet būtent tai ir yra vienas įdomiausių Bogdano Bogdanovićiaus fenomeno aspektų – būti disidentu juo nebūnant. Apie tai šį vakarą ir ketinu šnekėti.

Su Bogdanu Bogdanovićiumi susipažinau 1993 metais. Paradoksalu – ne mūsų gimtajame Belgrade, bet Vienoje, kur abu buvome savotiškame egzilyje. Jau tuomet šiek tiek žinojau apie jo veiklą, buvau skaitęs jo knygų. Jis daugiausia rašė apie urbanistiką, miestų planavimą, taip pat apie miesto likimą, miesto metafiziką, jo vietą šiuolaikiniame pasaulyje. Dar daugiau – jis sukūrė tam tikrą miesto poetiką, likdamas tikras mokslininkas.

Gordana Fontana-Giusti yra parašiusi esė apie Bogdano Bogdanovićiaus knygą „Beprasmiškas kastuvėlis“ (angl. The Futile Trowel). Ji pasirodė 1963 m., joje Bogdanovićius dalyvauja įsivaizduojamame poliloge su praeities meistrais – Berniniu, Borrominiu, Guariniu, Piranesiu ir kitais. Turiu pabrėžti, kad Bogdanas Bogdanovićius iš tikrųjų buvo siurrealistas. Ketvirtajame praėjusio amžiaus dešimtmetyje jis lankė antrąją Belgrado gimnaziją – dauguma jaunimo tuo metu buvo stipriai veikiami siurrealizmo. Kalbu apie bretoniškąją grupę, ne apie aragonietiškąją, kuri greičiau buvo stalinistinė. Bogdanovićius laikė save trockininku – tą labai svarbu pabrėžti netgi socialistinės Jugoslavijos kontekste.

Bogdanas Bogdanovićius gimė 1922 m. kairiųjų intelektualų šeimoje, kurioje knygos ir rašytas žodis buvo be galo vertinami. Iš pradžių jis norėjo tapti rašytoju, tačiau po kurio laiko nusprendė, kad pastatas taip pat yra tekstas. Bogdanovićius mėgo sakyti: „Rašiau tam, kad suprasčiau, kaip reikia statyti, stačiau tam, kad suprasčiau, kaip rašyti.“ Taigi jis niekada nemėgino atskirti šių dviejų dalykų. Tai primena garsųjį Adolfo Looso teiginį, kad gera architektūra yra ta, apie kurią galima papasakoti, ją apibūdinti. Tą Bogdanovićius bandė įrodyti daugelyje savo esė.

Antrojo pasaulinio karo metu Bogdanovičius buvo partizanas, vėliau tapo Jugoslavijos komunistų partijos nariu. Taip, jis buvo partijos narys, kaip pats sakė, partijos karys, tačiau tuo pat metu ir disidentas. Galbūt šioje paskaitoje mums pavyks suprasti, kodėl ir kaip tai atsitiko.

Bogdanovićius mokslus baigė 1950 metais. Jo mokytojas buvo Nikola Dobrovićius, iškilus Jugoslavijos modernizmo veikėjas, trečiajame dešimtmetyje gyvenęs Prahoje, pažinojęs Janą Kotěrą ir kitus įtakingus amžininkus. Baigęs studijas Bogdanovićius jautėsi ne itin tvirtai, nežinodamas, kaip įgyvendinti savo idėjas. Reikia nepamiršti, kad būdamas studentas jis projektavo siurrealistinius namus, t. y. tokius, kuriuose praktiškai neįmanoma gyventi – be durų, be langų, siaurėjančiais laiptais, šiek tiek primenančius poeto Tristano Tzaros fantazijas.

Svarbu turėti omeny, kad socialistinė Jugoslavijos valdžia toli gražu neužtikrino didelės kūrybinės laisvės. Pavyzdžiui, buvo leidžiama naudoti tik dviejų tipų langus. Taigi, Bogdanovićius buvo pasimetęs ir nusivylęs, tačiau stengėsi surasti savo nišą. Vienas pirmųjų jo projektų buvo gyvenamųjų namų kompleksas netoli Belgrado, pavadintas Jaroslav Černi. Jau iš pirmo žvilgsnio aišku, kad jam buvo tolimi socialistinės urbanistikos masteliai. Šie namai nėra dideli, gyvenvietė atrodo kaip Viduržemio jūros regiono kaimelis. Betoniniai langų rėmai kontrastavo su akmeniniu fasadu. Bogdanas Bogdanovićius teigė, kad jie patys „langiškiausi“, langai iš didžiosios raidės, – tą jis visuomet prabrėždavo kalbėdamas apie šiuos statinius, nors, be abejo, visas kompleksas pasirodė labai nepraktiškas. Pats lankiausi šiuose namuose prieš trejus metus, gyventojai skundėsi, kad jiems nepatogu čia gyventi. Tai galėtų būti vasarnamiai, bet tikrai ne nuolatinis būstas. Bogdanovićius žinojo šias problemas ir tai jį stūmė tolyn nuo architektūrinės praktikos.

Jaroslav Černi gyvenamieji namai, Belgradas, 1953 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Taigi, kas buvo didysis Bogdanovićiaus gyvenimo atradimas, kokia buvo jo kūrybos niša? Paminklai. Visi žinome, kas yra paminklai. Tačiau dažnai jie, užuot iškeltų į viešumą tam tikrus istorinius faktus, būna sukurti tam, kad juos paslėptų. Bogdanovićius jautė, kad paminklas yra tai, kur jis galės išreikšti save. Jis nelipdė partizanų su bombomis, jo darbuose nerasime vėlyvojo modernizmo pėdsakų – į urbanamorfinius monumentus jis sėkmingai perkėlė savo asmeninę poetiką. Architektas labai mėgo piešti, eskizuoti. Jam buvo labai būdinga piešti eskizus, net ir įgyvendintų objektų. Kodėl? Jis nesistengė apgauti, jo piešiniai – tai tolesni apmąstymai. Taip architektūra toliau buvo išbandoma ir tobulėdavo jo galvoje.

Memorialas žydams – fašizmo aukoms, Belgradas, 1952 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Memorialas žydams – fašizmo aukoms buvo pirmasis Bogdano Bogdanovićiaus sukurtas monumentas. Jį užsakė Belgrado žydų bendruomenė. Iš šešių ar septynių konkursantų Bogdanovićiaus darbas pasirinktas todėl, kad neturėjo jokių ideologijos ženklų – žvaigždės, kūjo ar pjautuvo. Iš pat pradžių architektas galvojo statybai naudoti gelžbetonį, tačiau žydų bendruomenei ši moderni medžiaga nepatiko – jie norėjo akmens, kuris labai svarbus jų kultūroje. Akmuo primena žydų tautos kelionę prie Jordano upės, kai kiekvienos genties vyriausiasis turėjo nešti akmenį, kaip prarastos arkos elementą. Tai yra simbolinis architektūros lygmuo, o tuo Bogdanovićius labai didžiavosi. Monumente taip pat naudojamos per Antrąjį pasaulinį karą Belgrade sugriautų namų liekanos. Jos naudojamos kaip spolia. Spolia – archeologijos terminas, reiškiantis istorinius artefaktus, naudojamus visai kitame kontekste.

Ką galėtų simbolizuoti šie vartai? Architektui tai buvo vartai į naują architektūrą, į atradimus. Atkreipkite dėmesį į jų formą – įstrižas linijas, atsiveriančias į dangų, tai vadinama antiperspektyva. Tokiu būdu imituojamas veidrodžio efektas. Kai kas interpretuoja monumentą kaip Arielio sparnus ar dvi Mozės lenteles su Dievo įsakymais. Yra daugybė būdų „perskaityti“ šį statinį, tai – atvira sistema, kur kiekvienam leidžiama susikurti savo istoriją. Bogdanas niekada viešai neaiškindavo, kaip derėtų suprasti jo darbus.
Kaip ir daugelis jo amžininkų, Bogdanovićius buvo didelis Le Corbusier gerbėjas. Kurį laiką kaip matą savo monumentų projektuose naudojo Modulorą. Vis dėlto šeštojo dešimtmečio pabaigoje tokios praktikos atsisakė.

Pats monumentas buvo ignoruojamas žiniasklaidos, sulaukta tik vienos trumpos žinutės laikraštyje Liublianoje. Ir kitus dešimtmečius spauda toliau ignoravo architektą. Esant tokiam štiliui, Bogdanovićius nusprendė koncentruotis į veiklą Belgrado universitete. Jis dirbo Urbanistinio planavimo katedroje, skaitė paskaitas apie miestų istoriją, rašė knygas. Tuo metu tiesiog nebuvo daugiau ką daryti. Didieji užsakymai pasirodė 1959 metais. Taigi, kaip ir Josepho Emanuelio Fischerio von Erlacho atveju, septintasis dešimtmetis buvo svarbiausias Bogdanovićiui. Tuomet jis sukūrė geriausius savo darbus.

Kalbant apie žydų monumentą, svarbūs dar keli dalykai. Minėti sparnai kai kuriuose projektiniuose pasiūlymuose buvo įvardinti kaip stećci – taip vadinami bogomilų antkapiai Bosnijoje. Žmonės, sukūrę šį primityvų meną XV a., nebuvo nei katalikai, nei ortodoksai – jie buvo eretikai, panašūs į albigiečius (albigeois) Prancūzijoje. Štai kodėl tokie ženklai buvo populiarūs tarp komunistų partijos veikėjų. Tai turėjo būti kompromisinė Jugoslavija – nei katalikiška, nei ortodoksiška, nei rytietiška, nei vakarietiška. Turiu paminėti, kad Tito 1948 m. susipyko su Stalinu ir Jugoslavija nepriklausė nei rytų, nei vakarų blokams. Taigi šis „trečiasis kelias“ tapo labai svarbus Jugoslavijos ideologams ir populiarus tarp kultūros aktyvistų. Todėl ir Bogdanovićiaus monumentas buvo vadinamas stećci, visai nebūdamas į juos panašus, – tai tiesiog politinė leksika.

Slobodište, Kruševacas, 1965 m., Dovanų slėnis, Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Vienas ambicingiausių Bogdanovićiaus projektų – Slobodište (Kruševacas, Serbija, 1965) Žodis slobodište reiškia „laisvės vieta“. Jei gerai pamenu, pirmieji žemės menininkų, tokių kaip Robertas Smithsonas, darbai buvo sukurti vėliau – septintajame dešimtmetyje. Tai galėtų reikšti, kad Bogdanovićius „išrado“ žemės meną pats to nežinodamas. Kaip gimė „Slobodište“? Monumento vieta nebuvo labai patraukli – plokščia, o šalia stovėjo buldozerių gamykla. Tačiau gamyklai reikėjo vietos mašinoms išbandyti. Bogdanovićiui kilo mintis, kad bebandant buldozerius būtų galima performuoti tą landšaftą. Taip ir atsitiko – pagal projektą buvo suformuoti du dideli slėniai: „Atminties slėnis“ viršutinėje dalyje, o apatinėje suprojektuota vasaros estrada. Tipiškas komunistinis planavimas – jei yra memorialinė vieta, turi būti ir scena minėjimams. „Slobodište“ monumentas tikrai įspūdingas – 180 metrų ilgio. Paskutiniu momentu Bogdanovićius pridėjo akmeninius „sparnus“. Jie atrodo lyg išnykusios civilizacijos griuvėsių likučiai. Buvo sukurta kitų detalių, pavyzdžiui, girnapusė, ant kurios užrašyta „Duona ir laisvė mums yra tas pats dalykas“. Kičas, tačiau tai susiję su svarbių to meto asmenybių dalyvavimu šiame projekte. Kalbu apie Dobricą Ćosićių, kuris vėliau tapo serbų nacionalistu, Tito draugu, komunistų partijos nariu ir t. t.

Vieną kartą Bogdanui Bogdanovićiui užsiminiau, kad šios kreivės primena Williamo Hogartho idealiąją liniją, harmonijos simbolį. Bogdanovičius tuomet atsakė: „Taip, gali būti, nors nesu girdėjęs apie Hogarthą, tačiau protingi žmonės supranta vieni kitus, net nepažinodami vienas kito, taip jau yra.“ Sparnų ir apskritimo modelį jis pakartojo ir vėliau, 1974 m., Štipe, Makedonijoje. Čia šiek tiek daugiau elegancijos, matome ir saulės simbolius, tai suteikia darbui rytietišką atspalvį. Neatsitiktinai tai buvo Makedonijoje, kur gilios senovės rytų amatų tradicijos, kur daugelį šimtmečių valdė Osmanų imperija. Pagarba vietinėms tradicijoms – būdingas Bogdanovićiaus bruožas. Nesvarbu, kuriame Jugoslavijos krašte buvo – jis stengėsi įsigilinti į specifinę vietos kultūrą.

Karių kapinės, Štipas, 1974 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Garsiausias jo darbas –  Memorialas koncentracijos stovyklų aukoms Jasenovace, kuris vadinamas Balkanų Aušvicu. 1941 m. buvo paskelbta fašistinė valstybė, vadinamoji nepriklausoma Kroatijos valstybė, kuriai vadovavo Ustaše – Kroatijos fašistai. Koncentracijos stovykla plytų gamykloje buvo didžiausia Kroatijoje Antrojo pasaulinio karo metu. Ten žuvo dešimtys tūkstančių žydų, serbų, čigonų ir antifašistų. Jugoslavijos valdžia ilgai svarstė, ką daryti, mat baisūs nusikaltimai buvo įvykdyti ne fašistų „užsieniečių“, o savos valstybės piliečių. Taigi buvo sunku nuspręsti, kaip reikėtų įamžinti aukų atminimą. Bogdanovićius pasiūlė kompromisinį paminklo variantą, kuris neturėjo nieko įžeisti ar kam nors grasinti, tuo pat metu neslėpdamas tiesos. Monumentas buvo gana lyriškas – galime jam įžvelgti gėlę, kai kas lygina jį su gotikine katedra ar kosminiu augalu. Bogdanovićius buvo atviras įvairioms nuomonėms. Mes vėl kalbame apie atvirą sistemą. „Medžio“ aukštis – net 26 metrai, pastatytas iš gelžbetonio. Atrodo, tarsi kiltų iš vandens. Bogdanovićius savo kūrinius klasifikavo, pavyzdžiui, vieni susiję su žeme, kiti – su vandeniu. Monumente Kruševace buvo žemės elementas – tokie „dvasiniai“ žaidimai yra labai tipiški kalbant apie Bogdanovićiaus kūrybą.

Memorialas koncentracijos stovyklų aukoms, Jasenovacas, 1966 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Dirbdamas Vienos Architektūros centre (Architekturzentrum Wien), klasifikuodamas Bogdanovićiaus eskizus, tyrinėdamas, kaip jie evoliucionavo, bandžiau rekonstruoti kiekvieno monumento morfologiją. Kartais jie labai skyrėsi vienas nuo kito, kai kuriais atvejais dominavo ugnies elementas, kuris yra labai svarbus Jugoslavijos politikos estetikoje. Ugnis dominavo ir Jugoslavijos herbe. Šešios dalys turėjo simbolizuoti šešias buvusios Jugoslavijos respublikas: Makedoniją, Serbiją, Juodkalniją, Bosniją ir Hercegoviną, Slovėniją ir Kroatiją. Visas jas vienijantis vainikas, žinoma, sukurtas remiantis sovietiniu modeliu. Vis dėlto Bogdanovićius ugnį siejo su laisve, su Prancūzų revoliucijos vertybėmis. Jis visuomet rasdavo būdų suteikti kūriniams kitokią, nepersmelktą komunistinės ideologijos, reikšmę, bet kartu tokią, kuri nesikirstų ir su oficialia partijos pozicija.

Jugoslavijos Federalinės Respublikos herbas, Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Bogdanovićius mėgdavo pabrėžti, kad jo paminklai buvo moteriškos giminės, nors serbų kalboje žodis „paminklas“ yra  vyriškos giminės. Moteris jam buvo tęstinumo, atgimimo simbolis. Kalbant apie atgimimą, reikia nepamiršti, kad jo paminklai buvo skirti partizanams, fašizmo aukoms, kariams, o jų atgimimo, amžinos jaunystės leitmotyvas buvo labai priimtinas komunistų partijos veikėjams. Yra ir išimtis – monumentas, kurį Bogdanovićius laikė vyrišku. Tai paminklai Bela Crkvoje, atidengti 1971 m. liepos 7 d. serbų komunistų sukilimo prieš nacių okupaciją trisdešimties metų sukakties proga. Čia labai svarbus politinis momentas – aštuntajame dešimtmetyje serbų komunistų partija buvo valdoma vadinamojo liberaliojo sparno, o šie „liberalai“ buvo gana draugiškai nusiteikę Vakarų demokratijų atžvilgiu, jie buvo antistalinistai. Tačiau komunistai iš kitų Jugoslavijos kraštų laikė juos serbų nacionalistais. Tą labai svarbu žinoti, nes šiame monumente tik dėl to, kad valdė „liberalusis sparnas“, galėjo atsirasti serbų tautinio kostiumo motyvų, paminklai atrodo tarsi užsidėję tradicines kepures šajkača.

Minėtą monumentą galėtume laikyti puikiu socialistinio estetizmo pavyzdžiu. Socialistinis estetizmas yra unikalus jugoslaviškas išradimas. Jo samprata buvo suformuluota literatūros kritiko Svetos Lukićiaus septintojo dešimtmečio pradžioje, o reformuota meno kritikų aštuntajame dešimtmetyje. Socialistinis estetizmas turėjo būti progresyvi alternatyva socialistiniam realizmui, užtikrinti menininko laisvę kuriant didingus kūrinius. Anot socialistinio estetizmo postulatų, kūrėjo, kaip socialistinio individo, siekis turėjęs būti meno kūrinio autonomiškumas. Skamba paradoksaliai, bet tikslas buvo išlaisvinti protą, kad taptum geresnis komunistas. Įdomu, kad tokia formulė pasiduoda galybei interpretacijų. Bogdanovićius taip pat iš dalies rėmėsi tokia sovietine estetika sakydamas: „Monumentas gali būti nacionalinis savo forma, bet socialistinis savo turiniu.“

Kritusių laisvės kovotojų kulto vieta, Vlasotincė, 1975 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Dar vieni „vartai“ stovi Vlasotincėje, pietų Serbijoje. Monumentas vadinasi Kritusių laisvės kovotojų kulto vieta, pastatytas 1975 metais. Sunku patikėti, kad jis skirtas Antrojo pasaulinio karo partizanams. Pastebima, kad Bogdanovićius vėl naudoja neolito periodo meno įvaizdžius, pavyzdžiui, akmens raižybą. Jis visuomet pabrėždavo savo simpatijas neolitui, jam patiko Sigfriedo Giediono „Amžinoji dabartis“. Šio monumento projektavimas užtruko, išlikę įvairūs eskizų variantai, piešiniai. Bogdanovićius maniakiškai ieškojo geriausio sprendimo. Įdomu, kad galutinių statybos planų šis architektas savo užsakovams niekada nepateikdavo. Taip jis pasilikdavo laisvę savo kūrinius perdaryti daugybę kartų. Aišku, kažkada reikėjo sustoti kurti, tačiau Bogdanovićius retai dirbdavo su architektais ar inžinieriais, o labiau pasitikėjo mūrininkais, akmenskaldžiais. Pirmykštis, archetipinis architektūros charakteris darė didelę įtaką jo darbo metodams. Žiūrint labai abstrakčiai, monumentas Vlasonticėje taip pat yra tarsi vartai, atverti į dangų, galime pastebėti saulės simbolį, kosminio augalo motyvus.

Partizanų nekropolis Mostare, Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka, 2009 m.

Kai kuriems Bogdanovićiaus kūriniams stiprią įtaką darė urbanamorfiniai planai. Vienas iš ambicingiausių projektų, taip pat viena iš radikaliausių intervencijų kraštovaizdyje buvo Partizanų nekropolis Mostare, Hercegovinoje, pastatytas 1965 metais. Bogdanovićius, galima sakyti, suprojektavo ištisą miestą: matome pylimus, vartus, bokštus, siauras Viduržemio jūros regiono gatveles. Nekropolis buvo skirtas 810-čiai Antrojo pasaulinio karo metu žuvusių antifašistų, kilusių iš Mostaro miesto. Autorius jį dar vadino Akronekropoliu, kas yra silogizmas – kaip tikras siurrealistas, kurti naujus žodžius Bogdanovičius mėgo. Tarp Akronekropolio ir gyvųjų miesto turėjęs vykti dialogas. Mirusiųjų miestas prieš gyvųjų miestą – tokia buvo žinutė. Nelaimei, monumentas buvo rimtai apgadintas per Jugoslavijos karą XX a. dešimto dešimtmečio pradžioje. Paminėtina, kad Mostaras įsikūręs ant dviejų Neretvos upės krantų ir yra padalintas – viena jo dalis priklauso bosniams, kita – kroatams. Bogdanovićiaus monumentas yra Kroatijos pusėje, kroatų nacionalistai jam padarė didelę žalą. Tiesa, vėliau bandyta Nekropolį rekonstruoti. Bėda ta, kad septintajame dešimtmetyje dirbę meistrai jau išėję anapilin, o jų amato paslapčių niekas neperėmė. Monumentą karūnuoja savotiškas zikuratas, už jo – apskritimas, sudėtas iš saulės simbolių. Bogdanovićius į šiuos ezoterinius simbolius nežiūrėjo rimtai – greičiau linksminosi.

Dar viena urbanistinės morfologijos schema – Memorialas mirusiems kovose dėl Nepriklausomybės 1804–1945 metais, Knjaževace pastatytas 1971 metais. Šiuo atveju Bogdanovićius atsigręžė į tradicinę ksilografiją, raižydamas akmenį traktavo jį tarsi medį.

Memorialas mirusiems kovose dėl Nepriklausomybės 1804–1945 metais, Knjaževacas, 1971 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Mitologinės gyvatės su dviem galvomis (lot. amphisbaena) buvo vienas mėgstamiausių Bogdanovićiaus motyvų. Dieną gyvatė šliaužia į vieną pusę, o naktį – į kitą, taip įkūnydama dviprasmybės ir tęstinumo idėją. Gyvatės naudojamos kenotafe fašizmo aukoms atminti Travnike (Bosnija). Jis buvo labai apgadintas karo metais, dešimtajame dešimtmetyje, vis dėlto Bogdanovićiui tas savotiškai patiko – dėl savo apgailėtinos būklės monumentas iš tikrųjų ėmė panašėti į išnykusios civilizacijos griuvėsius, neoficialiai jis yra išsakęs pageidavimą užkonservuoti skulptūras tokios būklės.

Kenotafai fašizmo aukoms atminti, Travnikas, 1975 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Palimpsestus jau minėjau, kalbėdamas apie piešimą post factum. Kalbu apie gausybę vieno eskizo sluoksnių. Čia pavyzdžiu galėtų būti kenotafų Vukovare, Kroatijoje, eskizai.  Jie buvo skirti antifašistams, kuriuos 1942–1945 m. žudė kroatų Ustaša. Reikia nepamiršti, kad Vukovaras buvo visiškai sugriautas XX a. dešimtajame dešimtmetyje. Nors ir apgadinti, paminklai išliko. Projekto eskizai – piešti ir perpiešti, liudija apie nenutrūkstamą kūrybą per visą projektavimo procesą. Bogdanovićius, įkvėptas Goetheʼs vizito į Pozzuoli, taip pat išvystė „paskendusio miesto“ metaforą. Čia galima atsekti sąsają su Roberto Smithsono darbu „Spiral Jetty“ (Salt Lake, Jutos valstija, 1970) – vienu įžymiausių žemės meno pavyzdžių. Molas (angl. jetty) sukasi ir pranyksta po vandeniu, o po to vėl iškyla, priklausomai nuo meteorologinių sąlygų. Metaforišku lygmeniu toks pats – paslėpimo ir atradimo – principas matomas ir Bogdanovićiaus „paskendusio miesto“ piešiniuose. Apatinėje Dudiko memorialinio parko dalyje matome valtis šajke – nuorodą į Dunojaus upės laivybos tradicijas. Laiveliai, rodos, palieka paskendusį miestą. Šiuo darbu Bogdanovićius dar kartą įrodo savo gebėjimus kurti labai poetiškus konceptus.

Dudiko memorialinis parkas, Vukovaras, 1980 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Paskutinis Bogdanovićiaus monumentas – Kovotojų mauzoliejus Popinoje, Serbijoje, pastatytas 1981 metais. Turbūt pastebėjote, kad Bogdanovićiui be galo patiko ornamentai, kas gana neįprasta, jei laikysime jį modernistu. Paskutiniame monumente ornamentų neliko, tačiau jis pats tapo ornamentu gamtoje. Teoretikams, kurie kritikavo Bogdanovićių dėl nesaikingo ornamentų naudojimo, šis kūrinys patiko, jie teigė, kad pagaliau buvo pasukta teisinga kūrybine linkme. Gaila, jie nesuprato, kad ornamento šiame monumente visiškai nebuvo atsisakyta.

Kovotojų mauzoliejus, Popina, 1981 m., Ivano Ristićiaus nuotrauka

Tokia buvo Bogdano Bogdanovićiaus kūryba, o dabar pakalbėkime apie disidentiškumą architektūroje ir kodėl šis žmogus buvo disidentas.

Ines Weizman: Turime būti atsargūs kalbėdami apie disidentiškumą, kartais galime nežinoti, kur disidentiškumas slypi. Įsivaizduoju, kad viskas tyčia buvo daroma slaptai, tik paskutinėmis minutėmis paviešinami statybų brėžiniai tam, kad paskutinę minutę būtų sprendžiama. Bogdanovićius kviesdavosi akmenskaldžius, kurie taip pat turėjo laisvę improvizuoti. Savo darbuose jis nevengė netikėtumo momento.

Ivan Ristić: Tai buvo oficialios doktrinos, kuri buvo susijusi ir su socialistine statybų praktika, neigimas. Negalime disidentu vadinti vien tik Bogdaną Bogdanovićių, turime kalbėti apie Jugoslavijos disidentiškumą viso sovietinio bloko kontekste. Manau, tai yra esminis taškas, nes pati visuomenė sudarė sąlygas Bogdanovićiui kurti pasitelkus būtent tokią estetiką. Žinoma, tai nebūtų buvę įmanoma, jei Tito ir Stalinas 1948 m. nebūtų pasukę skirtingais keliais. Naujoji socialistinė visuomenė turėjo atrasti savitas fašizmo aukų ir partizanų atminimo įamžinimo formules.

I. W.: Žiūrėdami į Bogdanovićiaus darbus pamatysime, kad juose gausu archajiškų simbolių, nuorodų į ezoterinius simbolius, bet kartu ir tradicinių pirmapradžių formų, objektų, figūrų. Taigi, ar galėtume vadinti jį modernistu?

I. R.: Geriausiai Bogdanovićių apibūdino austrų architektūros kritikas Friedrichas Achleitneris. Jis Bogdaną Bogdanovićių vadina antimodernistu. Tačiau tam, kad taptum antimodernistu, iš pradžių turi būti modernistu. Bogdanovičius patyrė tai pačioje savo karjeros pradžioje. Jo tikslas buvo įveikti modernizmą.

I. W.: Ar galite papasakoti, kas vyko toliau, po 1981 metų? Tai turėjo būti sudėtingas laikas, nes Bogdanovićius tapo Belgrado meru. Kas vyko per visus tuos metus iki pat 1993-ųjų?

I. R.: Bogdanovićius buvo komunistų partijos narys ir funkcionierius. Reikia pabrėžti, kad serbų komunistų partiją sudarė dvi grupės. Tai buvo neobolševikinis sparnas, galima sakyti – netgi neostalinistinis, ir kitas – liberalesnis, provakarietiškas, kuris buvo pasiruošęs diskutuoti apie viską, netgi apie politinės sistemos pakeitimą. Svarbu tai, kad Bogdanovićius priklausė būtent šiai liberaliajai grupei, kuri ir iškėlė jo, kaip mero, kandidatūrą. Turime matyti skirtumą tarp komunistų ir komunistų.

I. W.: Kaip faktas, kad Bogdanovićius buvo architektas, atsispindėjo jo mero veikloje?

I. R.: Jam rūpėjo su architektūra ir urbanistika susijusios problemos, jis stengėsi veikti kaip architektas. Pavyzdžiui, inicijavo tarptautinį Naujojo Belgrado pertvarkymo konkursą. Naujasis Belgradas – tai didžiulė teritorija sostinėje, po Antrojo pasaulinio karo užstatyta pagal socialistinės ekonomikos principus. Jis norėjo sukurti naują urbanistinę schemą, taigi pasikvietė būrį architektų iš viso pasaulio. Deja, šis sumanymas nepavyko. Konkursą laimėjo Slovakijos architektų grupė, bet jų pasiūlymai niekada nebuvo įgyvendinti. Šitie prisiminimai ypač gyvi mano atmintyje: meras, veikiantis kaip architektas.

I. W.: Esu šiek tiek skaičiusi, kad jis buvo tikrai ekscentriškas. Menininkas, pasirodantis gan biurokratiškoje aplinkoje.

I. R.: Taip, nešiojantis šaliką, atrodantis bohemiškai. Jis buvo visiškai kitoks nei jo komunistų partijos kolegos. Kartu akivaizdu, kad pačiai partijai reikėjo tokių personažų grynai reprezentaciniams tikslams.

I. W.: Ir kas nutiko toliau?

I. R.: Turime įvertinti tokio įvaizdžio vertinimą ir įtaką viešojoje erdvėje. Bogdanovićius taip pat buvo Alternatyvios filosofijos ir architektūros mokyklos įkūrėjas. Aštuntajame dešimtmetyje tai buvo kažkas panašaus į hipių komuną. Žinoma, daugelis valdžios žmonių skeptiškai žiūrėjo į tokius eksperimentus, bet Bogdanovićius sugebėjo sukurti labai įdomią mokymo koncepciją. Kartu su studentais jis kūrė urbanistines schemas, panašias į priešistorinių ir senovės civilizacijų miestus, naudojo įvairias pirmykštes technikas ir pan. Nereikia pamiršti, kad jis turėjo stiprų komunistų partijos viršūnių užnugarį, nors žemesnio rango politiniai veikėjai jo nesuprato, kildavo konfliktų.

I. W.: Priminkite, kada mirė Tito?

I. R.: 1980 metais.

I. W.: 1980-aisiais. Taigi visa šių kapinių idėja yra puikus žaidimas, į tuometinės Jugoslavijos kontekstą įtraukiantis etninius elementus, ar ne?

I. R.: Viršnacionaliniu lygmeniu – taip, žinoma.

I. W.: Taigi Jugoslavija vėl etniškai suskyla, tas išryškėja į valdžią atėjus Miloševičiui. Gal papasakotumėt plačiau apie šią situaciją? Apie laiką, kai Bogdanas Bogdanovićius ima trauktis iš politikos?

I. R.: Aštuntojo Serbijos komunistų partijos kongreso metu, 1987 metais, bolševikų sparnas tapo valdančiąja dauguma ir Bogdanovićius su liberaliaisiais kolegomis buvo priversti pasitraukti. Tuomet jis parašė laišką komunistų partijos centro komitetui. Laiške jis analizavo partijos neostalinistinę lingvistiką, bet ne pačią politiką. Tame laiške viskas buvo itin kruopščiai išnagrinėta, tačiau daugelis žmonių nesuprato jo turinio. Vis dėlto tai buvo viešas pasipriešinimas bolševikiškoms tendencijoms, Bogdanovićius buvo išmestas iš komunistų partijos. Taip labai vėlai savo gyvenime jis tapo disidentu klasikine prasme. Visa tai atsitiko devintojo dešimtmečio pabaigoje, tik pora metų prieš komunistinių režimų griuvimą Rytų Europoje. Paraleliai Bogdanovićius kritikavo ir nacionalistines tendencijas, įsišaknijusias skirtingų regionų komunistų partijose. Didžiausi bolševikai, pasirodo, buvo ir didžiausi nacionalistai – ir ne tik Serbijoje – tai davė pradžią kariniams konfliktams visoje Jugoslavijoje. Bogdanovićius tam nepritarė nuo pat pradžių.

I. W.: Tai išties labai įdomūs politiniai posūkiai. Pakalbėkime apie knygas, kurias Bogdanas Bogdanovićius parašė vėliau, tai jau buvo jo kaip politinio disidento era.

I. R.: Ir prieš tai jis rašė knygas, pavyzdžiui, „Beprasmiškas kastuvėlis“, išspausdinta 1963 m., tačiau buvo nesuprastas daugelio skaitytojų. Savo amžininkams architektams Bogdanovićius atrodė per daug ezoteriškas ir nerimtas, o paprastam skaitytojui jis buvo per daug „intelektualus“. Štai kodėl aš kalbu apie buvimą „pagarbiai ignoruojamu“. Jis pradėjo rašyti knygas šeštajame dešimtmetyje, tačiau pačios svarbiausios buvo išleistos dešimtajame dešimtmetyje. Jose Bogdanovićius kritikavo nacionalizmą ir jo padarinius, žvelgdamas pro miesto likimo prizmę, jis visada įtikinėjo, kad miestų naikintojai buvo didžiausi nusikaltėliai Jugoslavijoje. Jei nori sunaikinti kultūrą, turi sunaikinti miestą. Neatsitiktinai lotyniškai civitas reiškia ir kultūrą, civilizaciją, ir miestą. Bogdanovićius miestą laikė „asmenybe“, turinčia savo įpročius, psichologiją, erotizmą ir daugelį kitų savybių, sudarančių jo identitetą. Galiausiai 1993 m. Bogdanas Bogdanovićius buvo priverstas palikti Belgradą ir įsikurti Austrijoje.

I. W.: Ar galite papasakoti daugiau apie Bogdanovićiaus pedagoginę karjerą?

I. R.: Jis buvo populiariausias dėstytojas architektūros fakultete dėl savo nekonvencinių mokymo metodų. Septintajame dešimtmetyje jis skaitė paskaitas apie miesto istoriją. Vėliau tapo fakulteto dekanu, tada jis bandė reformuoti universitetą, remdamasis principais, panašiais į šiandieninę Bolonijos sistemą. Jam nepavyko  – nesulaukė pritarimo iš komunistų partijos. Bogdanovićiui taip pat teko nemažai kritikos iš universiteto kolegų, taigi jis buvo priverstas atsistatydinti. Po poros metų kaime netoli Belgrado jis įkūrė ezoterinę mokyklą siauresniam studentų ratui. Tokiu būdu prieš tapdamas politiniu disidentu jis pirmiausia tapo disidentu architektūroje.

I. W.: Kuriuo metu veikė „Kaimo mokykla“?

I. R.: Pirmuosius kursus, pavadintus „Simbolinės formos“, jis skaitė nuo 1973 m. atokiame kaime. Bogdanovićius nuosekliai šį kursą ėmė dėstyti nuo 1976 metų. Minėtoji mokykla veikė iki 1990 m., tada buvo nugriauta policijos pareigūnų, greičiausiai Slobodano Miloševičiaus užsakymu.

I. W.: Labai ačiū, Ivanai, už nuostabų pokalbį.

ALF 04
Ivan RISTIĆ. BOGDAN BOGDANOVIĆ – THE PRACTICE OF ARCHITECTURE UNDER CHANGING POLITICAL REGIMES IN YUGOSLAVIA
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Ivan Ristić (right) and Ines Weizman at National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, 2013. Photo:

First of all thank you for inviting me. Why Bogdan Bogdanović? I come from Belgrade, some of you may know that Bogdan Bogdanović was a mayor of that city between 1982 and 1986, so a vast majority of the contemporaries does not really believe that he might have been a dissident under the communist regime. This is one of the most interesting aspect of the phenomenon Bogdan Bogdanović – being a dissident without being a dissident. This is what we are going to talk about this evening.

I met Bogdan Bogdanović in 1993, paradoxically not in Belgrade – our hometown – but in Vienna where we both lived in exile. By that time, I had already known a couple of things about him, I had also read some of his books. In these books he mainly concentrated on city planning and was highly interested in all the problems considering the city, he reflected a lot on the metaphysics of the city by examining its position and character in today’s world. Furthermore, he developed a very special kind of poetry of the cities without ceasing to be a scholar.

Gordana Fontana-Giusti who is missing this evening wrote an essay about Bogdan Bogdanović’s book called “The Futile Trowel”. It is a book which appeared first in 1963, in which Bogdanović delivered an imaginative polylogue with the masters from the past like Bernini, Borromini, Guarini, Piranesi and others. I have to emphasize that in his youth Bogdan Bogdanović actually was a surrealist. He attended the second gymnasium in Belgrade in the late 1930s. Many of young people were actually influenced by surrealism. I’m talking of course about Bretonian group, not about Aragonian group which was rather Stalinist. Bogdan Bogdanović however kept considering himself a Trotskyist, which is I think a very important thing to emphasize – also in a context of the later socialist Yugoslavia.

He was born in 1922 into a family of left-wing intellectuals in which the written word was held in high esteem. He actually wanted to become a writer, but not only a writer – at some point he realized that building also meant a creation of some kind of text. His favourite slogan was “I wrote so that I could build and I built so that I could write”. So he never separated those two things from each other and I may also remind of the famous statement by Adolf Loos, according to which a good architecture is the one which can be told about, which can be described. This is something Bogdanović was arguing about in many of his essays.

During the WWII he joined the partisans and became a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. He was even more than that: he was a soldier of the Party (as he aptly put it), but still a dissident. It might sound peculiar, but maybe we are going to realize how and why in the course of this lecture.

He completed his studies in 1950. His tutor was Nikola Dobrović, a prominent protagonist of Yugoslavian Modernism who had lived in Prague back in 1920s, who knew Jan Kotěra and a number of his influential contemporaries. After having finished his studies Bogdan was a bit desperate, he did not really know how to turn his ideas into the practice. We must be aware of the fact that he had planned surrealist houses in his youth – houses without doors and windows, houses with stairs which lead nowhere and other weird features partly reminding of Tristan Tzara’s phantasies.

The so-called real life was a harsh thing to deal with. Expectably, the building authorities in socialist Yugoslavia did not grant much leeway for the architects. There were for example only two types of windows allowed. Bogdan got quite desperate with this situation and was soon forced to find a niche within his practice. One of the first projects he worked on was a housing estate near Belgrade called “Jaroslav Černi”. It all happened far away from any big gestures of socialist urbanism. These are not big houses, the settlement looks rather like a Mediterranean village. The window frames were made of concrete, thus contrasting with the rough surface of stone façades. Bogdanović emphasized that those where thought of as windows in Platonic sense. The Windows - they cannot be more “windowish”. Of course, the whole settlement turned out to be completely unpractical. I paid a visit to “Jaroslav Černi” couple of years ago and the people who lived there complained about various disadvantages of their homes. The houses might be suitable for summer holidays, but not for permanent domiciles. Bogdanović was aware of this fact and this is what drew him away from the architectural practice.

„Jaroslav Černi“ Housing Estate, Belgrade (1953). Photo: Ivan Ristić

So what was the niche, what was the big discovery of his life? The monuments. We all know what the monuments are. The monuments are supposed to remind us of historical events and to reveal dark secrets, but they often do exactly the opposite: by telling only one story in only one single symbolical language, they somewhat hide the truth. Bogdan Bogdanović realized that he might express himself in this media of architectural monument by enabling the visitors to read the messages on many different levels. Without creating or modelling some partisans with bombs, without making big late Modernist gestures, he succeeded in transmitting his personal poetry into these monuments which are often urban-amorphous.

He was strongly focused on a drawing as a medium. Typically enough, he drew many of his projects after the execution, however not in order to improve or remodel them, but to make some further reflections on the subjects. So this is how the architecture actually continued in his mind.

Memorial to the Jewish Victims of Fascism, Belgrade (1952). Photo: Ivan Ristić

Memorial to the Jewish Victims of Fascism in Belgrade (1952) was the first monument built by Bogdan Bogdanović. It was commissioned by the Jewish community. There were six or seven competitors, the commissioners however decided to accept Bogdan Bogdanović’s proposal mostly because it contained no ideological signs – there are no stars, hammers or any emblems of that sort. Initially Bogdan wanted to build this monument in reinforced concrete, but the representatives of the Jewish community wouldn’t accept this modern material. They insisted on importance of stone for their religion. In the course of their march to Jordan, each exponent of the Jewish tribe had to bear a stone as an element of the lost arch. This is the symbolical level of architectonical appearances Bogdanović was quite fond of. On the walls which flank the “dromos” (a path leading to the big gate) we notice some remnants of the houses in Belgrade which had been destroyed during the bombardments in the WWII. So they were deployed as spolia (an archaeological term meaning re-use of earlier building material or decorative sculpture by incorporating it in new architectural compositions).

What is the symbolism of the gate? As for Bogdan Bogdanović, it was a gate into a new kind of architecture, a discovery. I also have to draw your attention to the shape itself. You can observe oblique outlines of the core of the monument. The void space formed by the two wings seems to open up against the sky. It is an imaginary drawing defined by Bogdanović as anti-perspective, suggesting a mirroring effect. Some further attempts to interpret these monuments were made as well - wings of Ariel for instance, or the two tablets of Moses. So what I am basically talking about is an “open system”, everybody is allowed to offer his or her own explanation of this model. Bogdan never really postulated any definite formulas about how to read his monuments.

Like many of his contemporaries Bogdan Bogdanović was initially a Corbusean. He partly used the Le Corbusier’s Modulor in order to demonstrate how the monument acts in the space. However he gave up this practice quite soon, in the late 1950s.

The monument itself was vastly ignored by the press, there was but a short article in an architecture magazine published in Ljubljana. Bogdan became and also remained a “respectably ignored” person in the following decades. Therefore he decided to focus on his activities at the University of Belgrade. He worked for the Department for urban development, giving lectures on the history of the city and writing essays. Apart from these activities he saw no chance to deploy his skills. It was not until 1959, when he was commissioned with big projects. Paraphrasing the case of Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, we might describe the 1960s as the big decade of Bogdan Bogdanović. His most impressive and most important works were made in that period.

Speaking about the Jewish monument I also have to mention few more aspects. Look at these wings again. In some official proposals for the Jewish community they were described as stećci. Stećci ist how the Bogomile gravestones from Bosnia are called. People who created this kind of primitive art in the 15th century were neither Orthodox nor Catholics, they were Heretics similar to the Albigensians in France. They became rather popular with communist ideologists in the Afterwar period. It should have become a Yugoslavian compromise in a certain sense – being neither orthodox nor catholic, i.e. neither Western nor Eastern. I may remind you that Tito had made his break with Stalin in 1948 and that Yugoslavia belonged neither to the Eastern nor to the Western bloc. The “third path" became a trade mark of Yugoslavian ideology and also increasingly popular with cultural activists. The fact that the first monument by Bogdanović had no similarities with “stećci” whatsoever didn’t seem to bother anyone.

Slobodište, Kruševac (1965) The Valley of Tribute. Photo: Ivan Ristić

“Slobodište” in Kruševac, Serbia, was one of the most ambitious projects in the 1960s. “Slobodište” means more or less “freedom site”. It was completed in 1965. If I recall correctly, the first works by land artists like Smithson and others. were made in late 1960s. That would probably mean that Bogdanović invented the Land Art before Land Art and it is quite a unique thing. How did he come to this solution? In the first place, he didn’t find the site particularly motivating, as it was rather flat. Luckily, there was a factory in Kruševac that produced bulldozers. They representatives of this enterprise needed a place where they could try out the machines. Bogdanović got the idea to let them exercise the machines by remodelling the landscape according to his drawings. This is exactly what happened – Bogdanović developed a site consisting of two big valleys, the so-called “Valley of Commemoration” in the upper part, and in the lower part featuring a summer stage. The latter is quite typical for communist planning – if there was a memorial site, some summer stages were often incorporated to the site in order to have some theatre productions performed there. It is really an impressive place of about 180 meters length. In the last planning phase Bogdanović decided to add the stone “wings” which more or less look like remnants of some vanished civilization. Some other details can also be found like, for example, millstones, on which you can read “Bread and freedom are the same thing to us”. This is actually quite a kitschy message. There were some influential personalities who strongly interfered in this concept. I am talking about Dobrica Ćosić, who later became a big Serbian nationalist, who was also a great companion of Tito, and the member of Communist Party, etc.

Once I reminded Bogdanović of the fact that these curves of wings are slightly similar to those considered by William Hogarth a perfect line. Bogdanović said to me: “Well it is possible, I did not know about this curve by Hogarth, but wise people understand each other without even having met each other, this is how it is”. Some years later, in 1974, in Štip, Macedonia, this motive was re-used. Here they appear more elegant and we also recognize some symbols, so it looks quite oriental altogether. It is not by chance he made it in Macedonia, a land in which the old oriental crafts really have a long tradition, as the land was ruled by Ottoman Turks for many centuries. And this is something Bogdanović accepted and embraced in his own sketches and designs. The point was that he respected the original tradition. And that he always tried to create some kind of connection with it. This was the case in Štip.

Soldiers Cemetery, Štip (1974). Photo: Ivan Ristić

His most famous monument, completed in 1966, is the Memorial for the Victims of Concentration Camps in Jasenovac, Northern Croatia. Jasenovac was also called the Auschwitz of the Balkans. In 1941, the so-called Independent State of Croatia was established by Croatian fascists, the Ustaše, who were strongly supported by Adolf Hitler. There was a concentration camp on the site of the former brick works and it developed to the biggest concentration camp in Croatia during the WWII, where tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews, gypsies and anti-fascists of different ethnic groups were tortured and eventually killed. Yugoslavian establishment hesitated for a long time before the final decision was made, for the crimes have not been committed by some foreign fascists, Germans or Italians, but by domestic fascists. Therefore it was quite a tricky thing to build such a monument on Croatian soil and Bogdanović proposed a compromise which, as you can see, did not really offend anybody, did not threaten anybody, but also did not hide the truth. This is a lyric monument, you can recognize a big flower. There are various interpretations - some describe the monument as a dome of gothic cathedral or a cosmic tree. Bogdanović, as I already hinted, welcomed all that; we are talking once again about the open system. This “tree” is 26 meters high, made of reinforced concrete. It seems to rise out of water. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Bogdanović at some point tried to classify his own monuments according to the elements. So there is the element of water, there is the element of earth. We saw an element of earth on Kruševac. This kind of spiritual games was quite typical for Bogdanović’ practice.

Memorial to the Victims of Concentration Camps, Jasenovac (1966). Photo: Ivan Ristić

In the course of my work at the Architekturzentrum in Vienna I tried to reconstruct the morphology of each single monument by classifying the drawings of Bogdanović and trying to imagine how they had developed. They look quite different sometimes. In certain cases we are dealing with the element of fire, which is also something extremely important for the aesthetics of Yugoslav politics. The fire was the main motive of Yugoslavian coat of arms. The six pieces were supposed to symbolise six republics of Yugoslavia: Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Slovenia and Croatia. And the unity of all these elements, of course, was designed after a Soviet model. Bogdanović however rather brought it into connection with the libertarian thought of the French revolution. He always found some possibilities of explaining his monuments in a way which did not necessarily correspond to the dictate of the communist discourse, however by being in accordance to the ruling ideology as well.

Coat of arms of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Ivan Ristić

Bogdanović also liked to stress that his monuments were female; in Serbian language the word “monument” is actually masculine. He tended to consider the female a symbol of continuity and rebirth. Making the phenomenon of rebirth a main issue was of some importance, as he dedicated all his monuments to the victims of fascism and to those who were fighting against fascism during the WWII, and this notion of rebirth and eternal youth was also welcomed by the representatives of communist ideology.

There is an exception though. Cenotaphs in Bela Crkva were being considered masculine by Bogdanović.  The site was inaugurated on the 7th of July, 1971, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the uprising of the Serbian communists against German occupation. In terms of choosing the style this matter was also a political one, as in the early 1970s, the Serbian communist party was ruled by the so-called liberal wing. These “liberals” rather had a friendly attitude towards Western democracies, they were anti-Stalinists, actually. But the communists from other parts of Yugoslavia considered them Serbian nationalists. I mention that because some typical motives of Serbian traditional clothes are being used for this monument. The hat called “šajkača” is crowning each of the cenotaphs.

We might also consider this manner a fine example of the so-called Socialist Aestheticism, which is something typical Yugoslavian. The doctrine of the Socialist  Aestheticism was originally formulated by the literature critic Sveta Lukić in the early 1960s, then reformulated by some art critics in the 1970s. Being a progressive alternative to the Socialist Realism, the Socialist Aestheticism allegedly provided freedom in achieving sublime expressions. According to the postulates of Socialist Aestheticism, this very autonomy within the work of art should be the goal of an artist who thought and lived like a socialist individual. However paradoxical it might sound, the aim was actually to set one’s mind free in order to be a better communist. The comfortable aspect of this situation is that you can interpret it in many different ways. Bogdanović also partly embraced the aesthetic of the Soviet model, according to which “a work of art should be national by its shape, but socialist by its content.”

Cult Site for the Fallen Freedom Fighters, Vlasotince (1975). Photo: Ivan Ristić

One more “gate” can be found in Vlasotince, Southern Serbia, built in 1975 and called “Cult Site of the Fallen Freedom Fighters”. It really gets difficult to believe that we are dealing with a monument dedicated to the partisan combatants during the WWII. You can easily recognize that Bogdanović referred to Neolithic art – just look at the carvings on the stones. He always stressed that he felt the most “at home” while researching the Neolithic period, also by consulting Sigfried Giedion’s “The Eternal Present”. Such granite stones are extremely difficult to get carved. The planning process was also a very long one. There are most various sketches proving again how manic Bogdanovć was in terms of searching for a proper formula. There were almost no execution plans. Bogdanović always kept the sketches hidden from his commissioners, in order to be able to develop and re-develop the ideas on and on in his studio. Of course, at some point they had to be realised. He highly appreciated the skills of his stone masons. This archetypal dimension of architecture also played a very important part. On a very abstract level, the monument of Vlasotince is also something like a gate opened towards the sky, it contains a solar symbol. The outlines of a cosmic plant can be recognized as well.

Partisan Necropolis in Mostar in 2009. Photo: Ivan Ristić

Some sites are obviously based on urban-amorphous plans. One of the most radical interventions within the landscape was the Partisan Necropolis in Mostar, Hercegovina. Bogdanović actually created an abbreviature of a town featuring ramparts, gates, towers and narrow Mediterranean streets. The Necropolis is dedicated to 810 antifascists killed during the WWII, all of them from Mostar and its environments. The monument is also being described as Acro-Necropolis, which off course is a syllogism. Bogdan often created new words in a good old surrealist tradition. Acro-Necropolis – the city of the dead – was supposed to get into a dialogue with the city of the living ones. Unfortunately, this monument was severely damaged during the wars in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. In this context, I have to draw your attention to the fact that Mostar is a divided city – divided between Bosnians in one part and the Croats in the other part. The misfortune of this monument was that it was situated on the Croatian side of the city and the Croatian nationalists were basically those who made all these damages. Currently some attempts are being made to reconstruct it. The problem is that stone masons from the 1960s do not live anymore and moreover that the craft as such does not exist. The whole site is crowned by a ziggurat on the top. It is backed by a circle contenting solar symbols. Bogdanović however didn’t take this esoteric symbolism seriously, he rather made fun of it. One more urban-amorphous scheme is “Memorial to the Fallen of the Wars of Independence between 1804 and 1945”, in Knjaževac, Serbia. 1971. In this case Bogdanović referred to the traditional xylography, treating the stone as if it was timber.

Memorial to the Fallen of the Wars of Independence between 1804 – 1945, Knjaževac (1971). Photo: Ivan Ristić

The mythological amphisbaena (a serpent with a head at each end), was one of Bogdanović’ favourite motives. She represents the basic idea of ambiguity as well as continuity.Amphisbaenae also occur on the cenotaphs for the Victims of Fascism in Travnik (Bosnia) which was badly damaged during the war in the 1990s. One might argue that thus they were transformed into remnants of a vanished civilisation, thus representing a self-fulfilling prophecy. At some point Bogdanović got very fascinated by this condition of the monument, so he even made an unofficial proposal to keep the cenotaphs preserved in this condition.

Cenotaphs for the Victims of Fascism, Travnik (1975). Photo: Ivan Ristić

Palimpsests are something I have already hinted to by talking about drawing “post-factum”, drawing afterwards. What I am talking about are many layers of a single drawing – those were made mostly for the Cenotaphs of Vukovar in Croatia.  This is a place on which several dozens of anti-fascists had been executed between 1942 and1945 by the Croatian Ustaša. Vukovar is a city in Croatia which was completely destroyed in the 1990s. The memorial is also in a very bad condition. The drawings made for Vukovar bear testimony that Bogdanović worked in many layers by drawing and redrawing, so it is quite a fluid development. He also developed a metaphor of a sunken city, inspired by Goethe and his visit to Pozzuoli, wherein the prominent German traveller made an analysis of a sunken temple covered by lava stones. This would make an inspiring link to Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”, one of the most distinguished works of what we call the Land Art. The point is that the “Spiral Jetty” often disappears and re-emerges under the water surface, which depends of meteorological conditions. This is also something which repeatedly happens to the sunken city in Bogdanović’s drawings – on a metaphorical level of course. In the lower part of Dudik Memorial Park we see the so-called “šajke” (boats) referring to the naval tradition on the Danube. As if the boats were leaving the sunken city. Once again Bogdanović developed a very poetical concept.

Dudik Memorial Park, Vukovar (1980). Photo: Ivan Ristić

The very last monument is the Combatants Mausoleum in Popina, Serbia (1981).  You may have noticed that Bogdanović loved the ornament, which was quite unusual attitude for a presumptive modernist. The very last monument did not have any ornaments. Paradoxically it became an ornament in itself, being a sign in the nature. This is something that many contemporaries would not comprehend. Many of the art theorists who had criticized Bogdanović for his ornaments for decades stated after its completion that he at last “came to his senses” by giving up the ornament. Apparently it didn’t come to their minds that it was quite an esoteric matter once again.

Combatant’s Mausoleum, Popina (1981). Photo: Ivan Ristić

So this was an overview more or less, so let’s talk about dissidence in architecture, why he was a dissident.

Ines Weizman: We should not impose this too much, sometimes we might not even know the exact details where dissidence lies in. I imagine the whole point about the secrecy, bringing in only last minute the execution plans, so only the last minute it was decided. Or he was inviting particular craftsmen to treat the stone. So he finally built into the very structures the unexpected. It was also a certain liberty for the stone masons…

Ivan Ristić: It was a refusal of everyday practice, which was probably linked to the socialist building practice in general and we cannot talk about Bogdan Bogdanović as a dissident, but we can talk about the dissidence of Yugoslavia as a whole within the corpus of socialist countries. I consider this a main point, because it was the very society which encouraged him to develop this kind of aesthetics. This would not have been possible without Tito’s famous break with Stalin in 1948, of course. The new socialist society was faced to this challenge of developing a new formula of commemorating the victims of fascism and the partisans.

I. W.: If you look at the work we have seen, there are a lot of archaic gestures, referral to partly esoteric, but also the tradition of primordial forms, objects, figures. How do we define then his modernism?

I. R.: The best definition of Bogdan Bogdanović was given by an architecture critic from Austria, Friedrich Achleitner. He calls Bogdanović an anti-modernist. But in order to become an anti-modernist, you have to go through a modernist phase. This is what Bogdanović really went through in the beginning. So the aim was actually to overcome modernism.

I. W.: Can you project forward a bit? Because you leave now with 1981. I think it is also important for the audience to understand what happens now. It is quite critical [time], because he becomes a mayor of Belgrade. What’s actually happening in the years up to come, until 1993?

I. R.: Bogdanović was a member or even a functionary of the Communist Party. But it is important to stress that Serbian Communist Party consisted of two different groups, two different wings – the neo-Bolshevist wing, you may even call it a neo-Stalinist wing, and the other one, which was liberal and pro-western, which was ready to talk about everything – even about the possibilities of establishing a new political system. It is really important to stress that Bogdanović was representative of this liberal wing of the Communist Party. He was appointed mayor of Belgrade by representatives of this liberal wing. This is a very important part of the explanation. We have to differentiate between communists and communists.

I. W.: How did he appear as an architect politician when he was a mayor?

I. R.: Well, he did try to intervene, to act as an architect. For example, he initiated an international tender for redeveloping and restructuring New Belgrade, which is a huge part of the city planned by socialist economy in the post-war period. He wanted to create a new urban scheme, so he invited numerous architects from all over the world, however he failed. The competition was won by a Slovakian team but their plans never came to realisation. This is something I can vividly recall: a mayor acting as an architect.

I. W.: Because I read a little bit more how eccentric he actually was. Sort of an artist appearing on rather a bureaucratic stage.

I. R.: …wearing a scarf and looking like a bohemian. He was completely different than everybody else in the Communist Party. But obviously this very Communist Party needed such characters for purely representative purposes.

I. W.: So what happened then?

I. R.: We should consider the image and the connotations of such appearance in public space. Bogdanović was also the founder of “Alternative School for Philosophy of Architecture”. It was something like a hippie commune back in the 1970s. Of course many representatives of the establishment were sceptical towards this kind of experiment, but he managed to develop a very interesting concept by working with his students in the course of these lessons, designing urban schemes by referring to pre-historical and ancient civilizations, primeval techniques, etc. – it is a further aspect of his activity. I also have to stress that he was backed by the top representatives of the Communist party, whereas he did have conflicts and misunderstandings on a lower political level.

I. W.: In the monuments, there is a fine play he is trying… we are still… Tito dies when?

I. R.: 1980.

I. W.: 1980. So the whole idea of these cemeteries is a very fine play with combining also various ethnicities into Yugoslav context, right?

I. R.: On a supra-national level, of course.

I. W.: It’s again kind of breaking up into nationalities, which then happens I guess with Milošević. Maybe you could mention a bit about this too… moments where he starts to change his role basically from the kind of architect-politician, his departure from politics.

I. R.: On the 8th congress of Serbian Communist Party in 1987, the Bolshevist wing prevailed and Bogdanović and his friends were more or less overthrown. This is what made him write a letter to the Central committee of the Communist Party, in which he basically analysed its neo-stalinist language, not the policy. He applied an extremely thorough method and many people could not really understand what the content of that letter was, but still, he was someone who publicly opposed the new bolshevist tendencies, so he was thrown out of the party. This is how he became a dissident in a “classical” sense only at a very late stage. It all happened in the late 1980s, just few years before the decline of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Simultaneously he criticized nationalist tendencies within the regional communist parties. The biggest bolshevists turned out to be the biggest nationalists – not only in Serbia – and this is what led to war conflicts in the rest of Yugoslavia. This is something he was consequently opposed to from the very beginning.

I. W.: It’s fascinating to go into this, but maybe we should also open it up. We should also mention the books that came later, which you could say also was one era of political dissidence, when he decided to write.

I. R.: He had written a number of books before, like for example “Futile Trowel” published in 1963 and misunderstood by most of the readers. For his contemporaries from architecture sphere, Bogdanović was much too esoteric and playful, whereas for common reader he was too ‘high-brow’. This is why I talk about ‘being respectfully ignored’. He began writing books as soon as in 1950s, but he wrote some of his most important books in 1990s, in which he mainly criticized the nationalism and its effects by reflecting on the destiny of the city, as he always argued that the city destroyers were actually the biggest criminals in ex-Yugoslavia. If you want to destroy a culture, you have to destroy a city. It’s not by chance that we are talking about synonyms – civitas is culture, or civilization, and the city at the same time. This was exactly what he referred to. He also considered a city a “person” with its habits, customs, psychology, eroticism and all the other features belonging to the compendium of a so-called identity. Eventually Bogdanović he was forced to leave Belgrade and to settle down in Austria in 1993.

I. W.: Can you tell us a bit more about him as an educator?

I. R.: He was the most popular professor on the faculty of architecture in Belgrade due to his unconventional teaching methods. He gave lectures about the history of the city in the 1960s. Later he was also the dean of that faculty. In this function he tried to reform the university in the early 1970s according to some devices which have much in common with today’s Bologna system. But he failed, as the criticism from the Communist Party was much too strong. He also had to face criticism which came from his own colleagues, so he actually had to resign as dean. Couple of years later he decided to found an esoteric school outside of Belgrade for smaller circle of students. This is probably how he became a dissident within the architectural practice before becoming a political dissident.

I. W.: When was it, the Village school?

I. R.: He gave some initial courses, called “The symbolical shapes” from 1973 and he settled down with this course in a remote village in 1976. It existed until 1990 and it was demolished by some policemen who were probably engaged by Slobodan Milošević.

I. W.: Thank you very much Ivan, it was a wonderful talk.

ALF 04
ABOUT

Editorial:
Marija Drėmaitė, Julija Reklaitė,
Viktorija Šiaulytė, Indrė Ruseckaitė

Issue editors:
Viktorija Šiaulytė, Marija Drėmaitė

Illustrations editor:
Aistė Galaunytė

Copy editors:
Stephen Dean (EN),
Margarita Gaubytė (LT)

Translations:
Jurga Grunskienė

Design and layout concept:
Aron Kullander­-Östling

Layout:
Indrė Ruseckaitė

Online platform (archfondas.lt/leidiniu/en/alf-04/subversive-opportunism):
Martynas Bardauskas

 

This research was funded by a grant (No. MIP-099/2013) from the Research Council of Lithuania and Lithuanian Council for Culture.

ISBN 978-9955-9812-7-5 (printed)
ISBN 978-9955-9812-9-9 (online)

© Vilnius University, 2014
© Architecture Fund, 2014
© Authors of the texts and pictures, 2014

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