Dead monuments


Anyone who’s seen a Soviet film from 1947 onwards will recognise the logo of the Mosfilm studio which featured a model of Vera Mukhina’s Worker and Kolkhoz Woman monument. This 24-metre tall steel-plate statue proved surplus to requirements after the collapse of the old order, like so many monuments of that period. English Russia has a series of moody photographs of the structure lying in pieces whilst being dismantled.



Poor Vera, who died in 1953, must have thought her work would last a very long time; these pictures are a poignant reminder of the ephemeral nature, not only of art, but of whole ideologies. They’re also reminiscent of the deliberately degraded sculptures made by Igor Mitoraj (below) which trade for their effect on exactly this disjunction between delusions of permanence and the ravages of history.


And on these Flickr pages you can see one of Mitoraj’s influences from a ravaged past, the fragments of the Colossal Statue of Constantine in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Stalker meme
The art of Igor Mitoraj
Enormous structures II: Tatlin’s Tower

3 thoughts on “Dead monuments”

  1. He’s really good, isn’t he? One of my favourite sculptors. I first saw his work on one of the lawns outside the British Museum in London, a fragment of a huge bronze face lying on its side. Very apt it should be there seeing as the museum is filled with similar fragments.

  2. I followed the link you had put to the exhibition in Jardin des Tuileries back in 2004 and the pictures there are also great.
    I particularly was fascinated by a partial face that reminded me (lips maybe ?) of statues of Akhenaton I had seen in the History Museum in Leiden, when I was living in Holland. The type of face you could stand looking at for hours and not notice the time go until the museum people push you out of the room at closing time (it happened to me in my encounter with Akhenaton).

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