Mosaic panels on the walls of panel houses, gyms and cultural houses were left to Yekaterinburg as a legacy from Sverdlovsk, which was striving for a brighter future with the whole city being. The “Seasons” on Malyshev-Belinsky, the divers on the walls of the Yunost pool according to Kuybyshev, the portrait of a woman on Lavrov’s Palace of Culture have become so familiar that they hardly catch the eye and raise no questions. However, these mosaics are not just casual decor. In Soviet art, they formed a whole direction of monumental painting: pieces of smalt, patterns of ceramic tiles, marble and Ural minerals are combined into images of astronauts, miners and steelworkers.
Perm journalist Ivan Kozlov decided to tell the story of Sverdlovsk mosaics of the 60-80s in a series of documentary photographs. Today, September 7, in the small atrium of the Yeltsin Center opens its exhibition "Eternal Summer", which was included in the parallel program of the IV Ural Industrial Biennale. Life around chose five giant panels on the walls of Soviet Sverdlovsk and tells their stories.
Head of the exhibition and exhibition department of the Museum of Boris Yeltsin
Most of the mosaics appeared in Sverdlovsk in 1960-1980. Stalinist architecture with its redundant decor was replaced by modernist forms. Architecture became boring: most of the buildings turned into rectangular boxes. The set of expressive means available was narrowed, and the new architecture needed refinement techniques.
It was important for the customer, who was the state, to broadcast ideological messages into the urban environment. The city was filled with slogans and social advertising. Mosaic made it possible to depict the heroes of our time: astronauts, mothers with children, workers, leaders. The monumental artists began to talk not only about those images that were important for the authorities, but also tried to create the image of a modern person, to form common values.
Mosaic came to Soviet art from the centuries-old tradition of religious, and then secular art, working on the design of temple and palace interiors, creating symbolic spaces in relation to which the viewer feels a distance. So an important function of Soviet mosaic was the designation of the place and role of man in the city.
The Liberated Man, 1968
“Liberated Man” is the work of the famous Soviet monumental artist from Moscow Boris Talberg, who immediately went into all articles and books about monumental art. It is located on the facade of the swimming pool of the sports complex at the recreation center "Ural". The image of a liberated man was significant for the Soviet culture of the 60s by the statement, the echo of the thaw. Often the hero is compared with Prometheus. A liberated person is a person breaking the bonds of space and time and striving for freedom. Work celebrates the physical beauty of man and spiritual freedom.
st. Komvuzovskaya, 9
sports complex "Ural", formerly sports complex "Ural" of the Ural Electromechanical Plant.
Mosaic Print House, 1984
Now the mosaic of the Press House is interesting in that it shows how different ideologies coexist in art: on the facade are the slogans and heroes of Soviet newspapers and the front portrait of Catherine I, painted by street artists. Veniamin Stepanov in his work broadcasts the values of the Soviet press: the newspapers Pravda, Izvestia, October, Iskra, Trud. The theme of plant construction, printing, labor and victory here contrasts with Catherine, who now visually overlaps the panel itself. What is closer to them: the cultural hero associated with the city, or the once comprehensive Soviet ideology - is up to the Sverdlovsk residents themselves.
st. Turgenev, 13
Metelev's "Seasons" is a legendary story unfolding on the facade of a building of the 50s. The work was created in 1987 and quietly existed until the 2000s. But in the modern world it turned out that free space is primarily an area for advertising, and art is something secondary and useless. Therefore, the "Four Seasons" were blocked by a huge advertising banner. The incident very outraged the art community and caring people. Mosaic raised the question of the status of works of monumental art. Since then, the panel has existed with constant relapse: the banners kept returning, the public was constantly indignant. Over the past few years, panels have been available for viewing.
st. Malysheva, 76
residential building with shops
Brooch on the Palace of Culture Lavrov, 1967
Two panels on the walls of the Lavrov Palace of Culture were the first in Sverdlovsk: the history of mosaics in the city begins with them. The figure was laid out in 1967, and the building itself was completed a year later. The panel depicts a victorious woman whose children can inhabit and master this universe. The image of a woman in mosaic art was then quite rare. It is interesting that the panel does not occupy the entire plane of the wall and is rather a convex decoration, a brooch on the building.
st. Cosmonauts, 23
Ural Center for Folk Art, formerly the House of Culture of the Kalinin Engineering Plant (House of Culture named after M.V. Lavrov)
Donat Lepikhin, Boris Zuev
Panel on the DC of the Society of the Blind, 1973
On the facade of DK VOS, mosaic is combined with an expressive relief. This is an example of a suburban decor on an ordinary building: a bright color accent breaks the monotony of the sleeping area. Such mosaics made it possible to create iconic objects not only in the center of the city, but also on its outskirts. The decorative composition on the facade of the house of culture tells about the value of creativity in everyday life. In addition, the panel captures the meaningful transformation of Soviet mosaic in time: from meaningful statements about the strength and power of a human hero creating a new future, exploring space and winning the war, to a new metaphorical experience of space and time.
st. Technical, 23
building with shops and organizations, formerly the House of Culture of the All-Russian Society of the Blind