Frédéric Chaubin: Soviet Architecture. 1970-1990

Fascinated by the massive scale of Leonid Brezhnev era architecture, french magazine editor Frédéric Chaubin toured the former USSR for seven years (between 2003 and 2010), during which he stumbled upon 90 soviet buildings scattered across 14 former USSR republics, bearing the identifiers of what he calls ‘cosmic communist constructions’. His documentation is an important contribution to architectural history, especially of an era, of which not much is comprehensively known. Architectural Brutalism is somewhat evident in these structures that reveal a surprising freedom from the top-down directives of 1920s Constructivism and thereafter. These striking buildings, constructed on a huge scale usually from reinforced concrete, are anti-picturesque, their outlandish gravity-defying forms pitted against the landscape. Chaubin maintains that architecture reflects and expresses ideology and philosophy of that era. Take a look.

Read More…

Sergei Vasiliev: Russian Criminal Tattoos 1989-1993

Former law enforcer and later ‘Vecherny Chelyabinsk’ staff photographer Sergei Vasiliev had the privilege of access to some of the most notorious and hardened criminals in Russian prisons and reform settlements across Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Tagil, Perm and St Petersburg, from about 1989-1993. In these years he managed to document the unique visual code on the skin-canvas of these out-of-law men. It is important to note that these tattoos, in the closed circle of the Russian underworld of the early ’90s, were not fashionable embellishments to flaunt, but rather, they were personal histories marking the criminals’ route through the prison system, their ranks in the gangland hierarchy,  successes and failures, promotions, demotions, kills, transfer of work, and so on. Unlike the more commercially pop and fairly visible Japanese yakuza tattoos, the visual code captured by Vasiliev maps a rather curious irony – that these notorious gangsters were honest in not running away from their past, never putting a tattoo which they had not earned, and always living up to what they have done and they might do, and inking it on their skins as daily reminders of who they are. And because of who they were, they are now long dead and gone.

Read More…

 Scroll to top