Archive for March, 2012
Open Democracy â€“ 30th March 2012 â€“ The tragedy of Russia’s abandoned wooden churches â€“ Alexander MozhayevFriday, March 30th, 2012
â€˜The Russian mentality has developed to understand “old” as something that is out of dateâ€¦ Some years ago, the abbot of a monastery was asked why he had knocked down the porch of his 300-year-old church, and he replied as honestly as he could: “Because it was old!”â€™
In the Afterword to the recently published book ‘Wooden Churches’ Mikhail Milchik writes about the state of wooden architecture in Russia – he gives many reasons for its demise then says ‘finally, and possibly the most important reason, is the almost total indifference towards the fate of the national cultural heritage, that reigns in Russian society, from top to bottom.’
Looking through a book of Russian Revolutionary posters I came across a wonderful image by Viktor Deni from 1920 which I asked my friend Peter Brookes, the political cartoonist on The Times newspaper to reinterpret.
In Deni’s image the victim is Capitalism, the hour hand threat is CommunismÂ - Capitalism has they say survived for the moment. In Peter’s cartoon the victim is wooden architecture, the threat indifference. Let us hope that the message of Peterâ€™s cartoon will be as wrong as Deniâ€™s and that we will not be the last generation to experience these unique buildings as Mikhail has dolefully predicted….
Russian BookWorld â€“ 11th March 2012
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