The Concept of Time in Soviet Neoclassicism (On the Example of Architectural Discourse)

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The article discusses the process of switching temporal regimes in Soviet culture at the turn of the 1920s - and during the 1930s on the material of architecture. The concepts of time in constructivism and neoclassicism are compared since the struggle between them determined the main vectors of artistic development in the reconstruction period. The author analyzes the discourse of the official position in relation to the main trends in the development of architecture in the context of the periodization of socialist construction and elicits the reasons for supporting the reference to the classical heritage. The change of political agenda (the transition from dismantling the old order and the rectification of the consequences of the collapse of the social fabric as a way to build a new social order) set new requirements for architecture as the most important way of social representation. The new society - socialism - was interpreted in constructivism, which was the leading direction of 1920s architecture, in the modus of the future. In the neoclassicism of the 1930s, socialism was placed in the modus of the present. Constructivism was aimed at the pragmatics of restoring social fabric and solving current problems (mass housing, a new social infrastructure), as well as at constructing a future society and human. At the end of the first five-year plan, the authorities set other goals for culture in general and architecture in particular: the representation of achievements and the expression of the greatness of socialist construction. Neoclassicism was called upon to perpetuate the present state of affairs in the modus of real perfection and superiority of Soviet socialism over any other formats of social life. Between the time of creation (constructivism) and the time of completion (neoclassicism), there is formed a gap that must be hidden. As a way of hiding the temporal gap were chosen classical principles of form-making and examples of the Renaissance and Russian classicism, that were designed to convincingly demonstrate, on the one hand, the possibility of accelerating and compressing time, the swiftness of achieving the ideal, and on the other hand, tp depreciate innovations, make the idea of the movement of time into the future unnecessary. The theory of the leading neoclassicist I. Zholtovsky is discussed as an alternative to the utopian interpretation of time in constructivism, as materializing the mythological time, in which the source and end of creation are given simultaneously in the modus of eternity.

About the authors

Tatiana A. Kruglova

Ural Federal University

Author for correspondence.

Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor of the Department of history of philosophy, philosophical anthropology, aesthetics and cultural theory

19, Mira Str., Ekaterinburg, 620002, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2020 Kruglova T.A.

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