Jeremy Dixon’s reproduction of Tatlin at the Royal Academy, 2011; Hermann Obrist Entwurf zu einem Denkmal, 1898/1900.
Pursuant to an article by Agata Pyzik, who begins,
Seeing yet another replica of Tatlin’s Tower on the courtyard of the Burlington House in London, done by Jeremy Dixon and partners, I thought the ‘Russian avant garde’, as we like to call it, couldn’t be more disfigured and less properly interpreted than its original creators conceived it.
We do wonder, though, if Pyzik’s polemic doesn’t overrate the monument’s originality and ratiocination. Walead Beshty once noted in conversation the work’s peculiar debt to Jugendstil; and later (drawing on this inspiration in his writing on Harald Szeemann) Julian noticed the monument’s peculiar ancestors, not just in Eiffel and skyscrapers, but in works like Hermann Obrist’s Entwurf zu einem Denkmal (Sketch for a Monument). The reason it wasn’t built, it might follow, was not only its impracticality (though it surely was impractical) but a barely-sublimated alien, mystical, ornamental quality, so repellent to the ideal of rigorous pragmatism held by so many among the Bolsheviks. On the recent romanticism, and attendant reproductive mania, however, Pyzik’s right.