Revolutionary Optics

Organizer: gta Ausstellungen
Date: Friday, 29 September 2017 to Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Location: AHA Store (Leninhaus), Spiegelgasse 14, 8001 Zürich

AHA Store (Leninhaus), Spiegelgasse 14, 8001 Zurich
Concept and supervision: Alla Vronskaya and Torsten Lange with Lisa Maillard and Guillaume Guisan

“Space, not stone, is the material of architecture”, professed Nikolai Ladovsky, one of the leaders of post-revolutionary Soviet architecture and an influential radical teacher at VKhUTEMAS (Moscow Art and Technical Studios) during the 1920s. Commemorating both the centenary of the Russian Revolution and the fiftieth anniversary of the gta Institute, this exhibition in the Zurich house where Vladimir Lenin lived from 1916 to 1917 inquires into the role of the political upheaval in Russia in the history of architectural disciplinarity and education.
The presentation focuses on Ladovsky’s pedagogical work, which aspired to revolutionise architecture by dispensing with its Romantic interpretations and transferring it into the sphere of productive work. Ladovsky proposed a seemingly scientific, yet in fact subjective understanding of the discipline as the psychological analysis and design of perceived spatial relationships. At the centre of the exhibition is a model of the Space-Meter, a psycho-technical machine invented by Ladovsky to test architectural talent, which he identified as an ability to precisely estimate the visual. The model and other objects presented at the exhibition were made by students of a seminar taught at the gta Institute in autumn 2016.