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Culture:Russian, Soviet (established 1920-1930)
Title:Exercise on volumetric composition with articulation of mass and weight. Space course at the VKhUTEMAS
Date Made:1920s
Materials:vintage gelatin silver print
Place Made:Europe; Soviet Union; Russia; Moscow
Measurements:Sheet: 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 in; 10.8 x 8.6 cm; Image: 4 1/8 x 3 1/16 in; 10.5 x 7.8 cm
Narrative Inscription:  signed in pencil on verso: "IV-5-44", "Travin's archive", "r"
Accession Number:  AC 2021.83
Credit Line:Purchase with Amherst Whitney Collection of Russian Art Fund
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
Instead of using vocabularies of the existing architectural styles, students in the Space course at the VKhUTEMAS were required to develop an independent mode of spatial thinking and find their own ways to solve the problems of constructing three-dimensional forms. Assignments were developed in such a way that the search would not lead young architects to the experiments of their historical predecessors. The main goal was to cultivate students’ abstract thinking, and to teach them to see form at its most fundamental level.

The program consisted of four main tasks. As given in a VKhUTEMAS publication (“Architecture: Works From the Architectural Department of the VKhUTEMAS, 1920–1927.” Moscow: Izd-vo VKhUTEMASA, 1927. Trans. Serena Keenan, 2023):

"The first task is building an expressive, flat plane as the simplest type of surface.
The second task for building expressiveness of volume is the further development and complication of the conditions given in the first task.
The third task is on the construction of the expressiveness of the mass and weight of the volume.
The fourth task is building the expressiveness of the form of a limited space and the expressiveness of the forms located in this space (or limiting it).
Тhe general objective of organizing space includes the following particular tasks:
revealing the depth of a given space and its shape;
identifying the position of the main form in relation to: a) the boundaries of the surrounding space, b) the surrounding auxiliary forms and c) the viewer.
To solve the problems of expressiveness of form and space in the four previously listed tasks, the following means are used to the maximum: rhythm, nuance and contrast of form, mass, texture, light-shadow, and color.
All tasks are performed in a three-dimensional layout, executed with a predetermined scale."

Maria Timina, 2023

photographs; sculpture; design; geometry; models and modelmaking

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