An exhibition dedicated to Moscow’s iconic Melnikov House, a masterpiece of early Soviet avant-garde architecture, has opened at Vkhutemas Gallery. The aim of the exhibition, My Melnikov, is to inform the public about the history and current state of the building, which is in desperate need of restoration.
The building, designed by architect Konstantin Melnikov and completed in 1929, is said to be under threat from neighbouring construction, which has resulted in subsidence and large cracks throughout. In April this year, a group of high-profile architects including Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl and Rem Hoolhaas signed a letter urging for the preservation of Melnikov House.
A life-size version of the upstairs studio in Melnikov House and its famous hexagonal windows has been recreated for the exhibition and decorated with a number of original artworks by artist Victor Melnikov, Konstantin’s son, who lived in the house until his death in 2006. Many of the paintings are being shown for the first time outside the original studio. Alongside the reconstruction are a series of photos and documents chronicling the deterioration of the building, while another part of the exhibition tells of the ongoing disputes between Melnikov’s heirs and the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture over the ownership and future of the building.
Maria Troshina, curator of the exhibition and editor-in-chief of Tatlin magazine, told The Calvert Journal: “When we conceived this project, we did not anticipate such a big response from so many interested parties. As a result we’ve been able to highlight various different issues and histories of the house. This question now is what can be done to save the building, and what steps should be taken to bring all these parties together in the interest of the building rather than personal interests.”
A second part to the exhibition, due to open September, will cover ten other avant-garde builldings by Melnikov in Moscow. The current exhibitions runs until 13 September.