Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Yesterday I went to an enjoyable if rather fluffy talk on Stalinist biopics of famous composers (man sits at piano and suddenly! orchestral music runs through his head! Then the landlady comes in. or: aristocrat hears songs of peasants, realises their beauty and writes orchestral pieces based on them, etc): opulent costume dramas, emblematic of the sheer bourgeois drabness that the USSR had come to eulogise by the '50s, desperately trying to prove that they could do the old culture just as well as the West, the days of conductorless orchestras, industrial symphonies and Lenin's theremin lessons long behind them.

Much truer, perhaps, to the avant-garde promise of early Soviet iskusstvo was actually in the cinema building itself: an elegantly standard Gordon Square terrace which suddenly, on entering one of the doorways, becomes a wildly angular Deconstructivist space by Surface Architects. I often find this sort of garish, expressionistic stuff a little jejune, but in the right disruptive context, as opposed to in a place where one expects strangeness or architectural excess (art galleries, banks and so forth) it works beautifully.


Anonymous Laughing Tom Beaver said...

I find this architecture jejune too. The McDonalds on Oxford Street is like this. I recall going in their on acid and it was just horrible. Like fucking Ranson's Christ/Buddha painting. You notice too the syrupy quality of everything added to the McDonalds food. Another type of surface. A "sinister pink temple" my notebook advises.

Anyway, the lesson in all this is that jejune does not exclude intensity.

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