Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Unique Sculpture Garden in the Muzeon Park of Arts (Graveyard of Fallen Monuments)

As the Olympics continue in Russia, I reflect on some of the highlights of our visit
A huge statue of Peter the Great, erected in 1997, can be seen on a curve in the River Moskva, just South of the Kremlin, where the river meets the drainage canal, is one of the world's tallest outdoor statue.   Zurab Tsereteli's Monument to Peter the Great1 is so tall that it is topped by an aircraft-warning hazard light.It is regarded as an eyesore by many Muscovites, who were not pleased that between US$11 million and US$20 million of public money was spent on the monument.  Peter was reputed to despise the city of Moscow and designated his own city, St Petersburg, as capital of Russia in 1712, hardly endearing him to the proud inhabitants of Moscow.

The nearby Fallen Monument Park, outside the Krymsky Val building in Moscow shared by the modern art division of Tretyakov Gallery and Central House of Artists, is located between the Park Kultury and the Oktyabrskaya underground stations. (In Russian, the park is either simply named Sculpture Park of the Central House of Artists (Russian: Парк скульптуры ЦДХ) or referred to by its legal title, Muzeon Park of Arts (Russian: Парк Искусств, Park Iskustv)). In October 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, statues of Soviet leaders and unidentifiable workers and peasants were removed from their pedestals, hauled to the park and left in their fallen form. They were rectified later, although many are missing the original pedestals. 

Socialist Realism was an art style developed in the Soviet Union whose objective was to further the goals of Communism. Socialist Realism was officially defined by four rules adopted at the Communist Party Congress in 1934:
  1. Proletarian: art relevant to the workers and understandable to them.
  2. Typical: scenes of the people’s everyday life.
  3. Realistic: in the representational sense.
  4. Prospective and revolutionary: supportive of the aims of the State and the Party.
The typical motifs showed happy and muscular farmers and workers at collective farms and factories, heroic portraits of the Communist leaders and romanticized everyday situations. 
These were removed from public squares and buildings around Moscow after the collapse of the Communist regime.
Among the Socialist Realism sculptures are also memorials to the victims of the GULAG camps.

Over the years more modern sculpture has been added resulting in a very sculpture garden to enjoy while strolling near the Moskva River.

"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it matters most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
– Haile Selassie

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