Friday, March 30, 2012

Enough concrete

My concrete essay has been finished (I hope) but shortened to readable size and is missing some interesting stories I first planned to insert. I haven't written about a girl with an oar which was a symbol of a socialist way of life and a source of numerous jokes, whose ugly concrete copy could be found in any park. What later became a metaphor of Soviet propaganda was first created by Ivan Shadr as a beautiful sculpture of a slender girl standing nonchalantly in the middle of a huge recreational park in the centre of Moscow.

There were however two problems with the girl that caused her exile to a far-away town Lugansk. She was made of a very light cement variety, white coloured body looked so shockingly realistic. The second problem was her size. 8 meters of sexually appealing nudity in the middle of the park where citizens were supposed to relax and do sports was a challenge to socialist morals. The next version of "The girl with an oar' was grey and much smaller in size. In the meantime the idea was cloned and 'The girl with an oar" became present in all the parks but she was given more muscles and she was dressed.
They loved big sculptures back in the Soviet Union, they still love them in Russia, the bigger the better. A huge monument to Artem by Kavaleridze created in the 1927 (photo wikipedia).

The second story was about concrete German bunkers which can be found all over Belgium. One of the first examples of modular construction, they were built from prefab elements in a very short period of time. Once sinister they are now becoming a part of the nature turning into stones covered with moss. Water dropping through the ceilings of bigger underground bunkers forms stalagmites that crack under the feet as you walk along the corridors. Left unattended they will soon lose their connection with the most tragic years of European history. Some of the bunkers were demolished because people didn't want to see this reminder of war but soon they found out that the price of demolition was too high and it's cheaper to change the attitude towards them. I know bunkers transformed into chicken and garden sheds, electricity high-voltage cabins and this climbing wall in Sint-Katalijne-Waver (photo-flickr)

I also didn't write about concrete war memorials and museums , concrete in interior design, concrete in photography and many other things, but it's time to say good bye))

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