In Besieged Leningrad: Architect Alexander Nikolsky
Harriman Institute at Columbia University
Opening Reception: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM
On view: March 6 - April 26, 2013
Alexander Sergeyevich Nikolsky (1884-1953), was one of the outstanding masters of the Soviet architecture. He became famous for his contribution to the Leningrad Avant-garde by closing the distance between and even synthesize Constructivism and Suprematism identifying its leading direction, Suprematist Constructivism. This process took place in collaboration with his student, Suprematist artist Lazar Khidekel, who introduced Nikolsky to Suprematism as well as to Kazimir Malevich, at that time director of Ginkhuk (State Institute of Painterly Culture).
Most of the lithographs of Alexander Nikolsky were made in 1942-43 in workshops of the Academy of Arts, which cellars along with the depth of the Hermitage served as bomb shelters for artists and architects who were gathering together to share hardship of extreme condition. These gloomy somber images depicting routine of the architect's life who continues to work despite all odds, are particularly striking by unexpected images such as still-lives of flowers and emotionally charged images of trees as well as imaginative projects of triumphal arches and monuments to defenders of Leningrad.
The presented works belong to the archive of Lazar Khidekel (1904-1986), student and collaborator of Nikolsky, who in 1923 completed his pencil portrait that according to a scholar Margarita Stiglitz "accentuates those qualities of his character that were only revealed later clearly and firmly in depiction of the Architect". The portrait will be a part of the exhibition along with a few Lazar Khidekel's watercolors depicting the city bound with cold still in war.
The exhibit is curated by Regina Khidekel.