Magazine article Artforum International

Gunther Forg

Magazine article Artforum International

Gunther Forg

Article excerpt

Gunther Forg's photos of Moscow are very, very beautiful. This comes as no surprise vis-a-vis Forg, but is really quite astonishing vis-a-vis Moscow. In a sort of frieze comprising 31 large black and white prints, Forg represents some of the great buildings constructed in that city during the idealist '20s and '30s. We've seen many tributes to the great utopia since the decay of the Soviet state liberated us to speak of this work with admiration, and without anxiety about its political implications, but fortunately this show moves beyond that paradigm.

The rather illiterate press release states that "Forg's Moscow pictures serve as a narrative in the history of the Soviet Union from a time when the state was supportive of artistic endeavors until the current time of apathy toward culture and the state in Moscow." But Forg's photos have a radicalism far more profound than that, one that lies in their attractiveness. It is a cliche of our times that Modernism ages badly. Take a nice Elizabethan country house or a Victorian cottage or a Palladian villa and leave it alone for a century or two and what you'll have is something even more exquisite than the original, utterly charming in its decay; but take something with the severe lines of the International style and with neglect it becomes absurd and depressing. Look at Brasilia. Alienating, miserable, and hideous. Indeed much of the cant of post-Modernism has been founded on a disavowal of architecture that cannot mellow with time. There is a certain authenticity to these arguments, but it is also the case that people who lived in past centuries would be horrified to see their buildings endearingly degenerate, and that part of our loathing for decayed Modernist work has to do with our lack of nostalgia for Modernism itself. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.