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Bringing much needed awareness to Russian avant-garde architecture, which is under threat of being erased from the Moscow cityscape.

ABOUT THE CONSTRUCTIVIST PROJECT

(Читайте про Kickstarter по-русски здесь)

The 1917 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION gave way to a burst of artistic creativity with the CONSTRUCTIVIST movement at the forefront. Artists set about to create a new society through their works and nowhere is this more clear than in the avant-garde architecture that was designed in the 1920s and 1930s. Ninety years later, a growing and modernizing Moscow is undergoing a major construction boom which has ENDANGERED many of these forgotten ARCHITECTURAL TREASURES.

In order to promote the need for PRESERVATION, and avoid the destruction of these irreplaceable monuments, I am creating silk screened POSTERS that feature a variety of buildings from this period. The eighteen 27 x 35 inch posters, designed in the style of Constructivist aesthetics, will draw attention to the uniqueness and importance of such architecture. These posters will neatly combine photographic images of the architecture with text of who (architect), what (name of building), and when (date of construction).

That's the short story of The Constructivist Project. I invite you to read the full project story, learn about post-revolutionary art in the Soviet Union, browse the Constructivist architecture gallery, view the posters, and check out current project progress at theconstructivistproject.com. You can also follow The Constructivist Project at its Facebook page and on Twitter. Take a look!

WHY I NEED YOUR HELP

I am a recent graduate (Master of Fine Arts from Academy of Art University in San Francisco), and I have spent all of my time and all of my money the last two years working on this project. I am an emerging artist, recently started my photography business, work part time at a coffee shop and soon will have to pay back student loans...  and I need help in funding this ambitious project of mine. This project has cost me over $7,000, which is nearly everything that I have in my-not-very-deep-pockets, so I can not afford to continue expanding The Constructivist Project without the funding from this Kickstarter campaign.

HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS

1) Support me, support the preservation of avant-garde architecture so there's something to see of Russia's past the next time you come to Moscow, feel good about contributing to a worthy cause, and get stuff to keep (REWARDS)!

2) If the goal is not met by the deadline of May 31, The Constructivist Project does not get ANY funding. That's ZERO ($0) dollars :(

3) I would love your help in spreading the word to all those interested in PHOTOGRAPHY, PRINT MAKING, ARCHITECTURE, PRESERVATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE, AVANT-GARDE ART, GRAPHIC DESIGN, 1920s & 1930s, RUSSIA ... there's something for everyone! Share this Kickstarter campaign with Facebook, Twitter, friends, family, community, and anyone else who would like to help out :)

THE REWARDS: Back this project, and get a print!

5 x 7 in. archival inkjet print, your choice of Rusakov Club or Zuev Club

Rusakov Club

Zuev Club

8 x 10 in. and 16 x 20. in archival inkjet prints, your choice of Shukhov Tower or House on the Embankment

Shukhov Tower

House on the Embankment

15 x 18 hand printed silver gelatin prints, would like nice framed on a wall (frame not included)

22 x 30 inch variable edition prints, great for decor!

THE POSTERS

^  That's the most important stuff you need to know about the project. But if you want ADDITIONAL INFO, please keep reading:

Why this is important for the architecture, and Moscow

At around 90 years old, much of this architecture is in bad shape, unrecognized for its cultural significance, and in danger of being erased from the Moscow landscape – and history. Architecture is a living monument, a physical reminder of past times. Most people have heard of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements, but few recognize Constructivism's major influence on Western art during the 1920s and 1930s. In my experience, people either don't know about or don't care for avant-garde architecture. There were many times when I was photographing a building in Moscow and people would come up to me, curious why the heck I was photographing “that old building.” This project not only documents the architecture, but it also highlights its significance and promotes the preservation effort going on in Moscow. In recent years, there's been revived interest in the architecture of this period, and Moscow Architecture Preservation Society (MAPS) and RKM Save Urban Heritage (both of whom I am excited to be collaborating with) are but two organizations dedicated to this very cause.

Moscow's economic growth has led to a construction boom and a destruction rampage. Historic neighborhoods are being redeveloped, zoning and building codes ignored, and supposedly-government-protected sites violated. Many of the buildings find themselves on prime real estate in downtown Moscow, and their dilapidated state calls for either their destruction or “restoration.” Restoration, however, is a loose word, and can equally mean demolition with a replacement replica. I doubt that visitors who come to Moscow to experience all the history and rich culture that the Russian capital has to offer will be satisfied with a Disneyland version, instead of the real thing. One of Moscow's main selling points is that it is a living museum, so it is baffling that the city seems to be favoring the construction of Western-style architecture instead of preserving what is very UNIQUE to itself.

This is where The Constructivist Project comes in: The posters I am creating promote the cultural and historical value of avant-garde architecture, so that these architectural treasures may be properly recognized and preserved.

Dynamo Stadium (1928), though government protected, is already having reconstruction work done to it. Unfortunately, "reconstruction" means demolition of parts of the original structure in this case.

The Narkomfin Building (1928-1930) is one the most perfectly realized communal buildings during the early years of the Soviet Union, but is in very poor condition and its fate is unclear.

The Mostorg Department Store built in 1927-1928 was recently privatized and reconstructed to house the United Colors of Benetton. The facade designed by the Vesnin brothers now advertises the look of United Colors of Benetton.

The Shukhov radio tower was constructed in 1922. Towering at 160 meters it is still an impressive sight, but having never undergone serious restoration, it is in urgent need of attention.

Nikolaev's Student Commune House (1929-1931) is an example of a a building undergoing a restoration project, a rare occurrence for the fate of most buildings.

Timeline of project development

Spring 2010: took an interest in photographing Soviet architecture and began preliminary research into the Constructivist movement.

Summer 2010: made a trip to Moscow to location scout and get to know my subjects.

Fall 2010: consolidated project idea – graphic posters featuring photographs of Constructivist architecture to function simultaneously as advertisements and promotions, with a hint of propaganda (referencing the tactics of the Soviet Union in the 1920s to promote socialist ideals through graphic works).

Spring 2011: worked out project details, learned the silk screen print making process, and launched theconstructivistproject.com website.

Summer/Fall 2011: researched locations, went on weekly adventures in finding and photographing architecture, built connections with the Moscow Architecture Institute and the restoration project of Nikolaev's Student Commune House, went on RKM Save Urban Heritage guided tours of avant-garde architecture, visited relevant exhibits, accrued pertinent books and publications, and made connections with RKM (Rome Kiev Moscow) Save Urban Heritage and Moscow Architecture Preservation Society (MAPS) for collaboration opportunities. This was an excellent time!

Spring 2012: NOW – executing final poster production: scanning in film, editing photographs, designing the final 18 posters, sourcing supplies, and PRINTING THE POSTERS. Work from The Constructivist Project is currently being shown at Zughaus Gallery in Berkeley, opened on May 25.

Summer 2012: exhibition of the posters in 625 Gallery in downtown San Francisco; everyone is invited :) [July 5, opening night]

Fall 2012: promotion and exhibition of the work in Moscow!

More info on the REWARDS

For Bay Area supporters, I will be able to deliver your goodies in July.

For Moscow supporters, I will be there in August and will hand deliver your rewards. See you in Moscow!

For other US and international locations especially, please consider adding SHIPPING to your donation, so your rewards can arrive nice & safe!

SILVER GELATIN PRINTS will be the original photograph featured on the posters, but printed as straight photographs on beautiful cool tone Oriental glossy fiber paper.

VARIABLE EDITION SILK SCREEN PRINTS are made using the same screens as the posters, just in a variety of colors and arrangements on 22 x 30 in. paper.

THANK YOU!

- Natalia

Contact me at nmelikova@gmail.com if you would like to get in touch; I'd love to hear from you.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    2 backers

    Большое спасибо! (Thank you very much!) You are cordially invited to come see the completed work in San Francisco on exhibit in July.

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    6 backers

    Again, Большое спасибо! (Thank you very much!) You are cordially invited to come see the completed work in San Francisco on exhibit in July. You will also receive a silk screened postcard and mention on the "Get Involved" page on the The Constructivist Project's website.

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    10 backers

    Reward #2 + 5 x 7 in. archival inkjet print of the Rusakov Club or Zuev Club, your choice!

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    8 backers

    Reward #2 + 8 x 10 in. archival inkjet print of Shukhov Tower or House on the Embankment, your choice!

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    1 backer

    Reward #2 + 16 x 20 in. archival inkjet print of Shukhov Tower or House on the Embankment, your choice! (Please consider adding SHIPPING to your donation, so your reward can arrive nice & safe!)

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    1 backer

    Reward #2 + silver gelatin print + variable edition silk screen print

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    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    Reward #2 + 27 x 35 in. artist proof of poster + 16 x 20 in. archival inkjet print of Shukhov Tower or House on the Embankment, your choice + variable edition silk screen print

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Reward #2 + four 16 x 20 archival inkjet prints of images you choose from the "Constructivist Architecture" gallery at theconstructivistproject.com site. And, we'll go on a mini tour of several sites featured in The Constructivist Project (this reward for those in Moscow) and I'd suggest visiting the sites of the photographs you choose, see it in a photo ... see it in person!

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    Reward #2 + 27 x 35 in. FINAL edition of poster + silver gelatin print + variable edition silk screen print

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    0 backers

    Reward #2 + 27 x 35 in. FINAL edition of poster + silver gelatin print + variable edition silk screen print + 16 x 20 in. archival inkjet print of YOUR choice from the "Constructivist Architecture" gallery at theconstructivistproject.com site.

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    0 backers

    Reward #2 + Reward #9 + an additional 27 x 35 in. FINAL edition of poster = one amazing package of goodies. Thank you so much!

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Funding period

- (59 days)