Sunday, 28 February 2010

10-of-the-best 8: Mayakovsky Museum

One reason I have been out visiting trendy restaurants is that a friend has been staying, meaning I have been a proper tourist for a couple of days, having a great time with him visiting various Moscow sights.

So finally got to the Mayakovsky museum, which is just around the corner from where I live, near Lubyanka. Mayakovsky was a futurist/constructivist poet and writer(1983 - 1930) and the museum is an extraordinary three-dimensional representation of his life and work, a four-storey sophisticated spiralling down (based on the designs of Tatlin's tower) of metaphorical constructions, and multi-layered images.

The work itself - just the sheer energy, confidence and creativity of the immediate post-revolutionary period - is astounding. All the usual suspects are there; Rodchenko, Malevich, Tatlin, Melnikov, just to name a few. There are letters, collages, photographs, paintings, sketches, notes and much else, set at all kinds of angles and relationships. It took my breath away twice, once for the glories on show; and then because these original and irreplaceable works are just stuck under glass (sometimes), jumbled up so some difficult to even see, and then cut or overpainted or generally mistreated. This might be seen either as an expression of Mayakovsky's anarchy and exuberance (ignoring the fact that he committed suicide), or of a terrible lack of concern for the long-term preservation of these precious artefacts. Or both.

The Maykovsky Museum website is only in Russian (there is an English link which doesn't seem to work, but there is always Google Translate). For a 3D virtual tour of the museum interior try here. And for some poetry and his manifesto A Slap in the Face for Public Taste visit a favouritely weird website, archiving the works of Marxists across the globe.

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