23 September 2011—29 January 2012
In the Architecture Space
Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International remains one of the great unrealised architectural projects of the twentieth century. Conceived in 1919–20 in the years immediately following the Russian Revolution, the tower was intended to stand as both a monument to the Revolution and as headquarters of the ‘Comintern’, the mouthpiece for the propagation of revolutionary ideals throughout the world.
Coinciding with the exhibition Building the Revolution , a scale model of Tatlin's Tower was created in the RA's Annenberg Courtyard. An accompanying exhibiton in the Architecture Space explored the conception, vision and symbolism of Tatlin’s Tower and the intriguing process led by Jeremy Dixon to recreate a special scaled model of the tower in the Annenberg Courtyard at the Royal Academy.
Working within practical limitations, the Royal Academy model was built to a maximum height and scale (1:40) to give a sense of the immense size and ambition of Tatlin’s unrealised design. This has been further emphasised by raising the model on a plinth, offering viewers a perspective akin to that which they would have gained from the streets of St Petersburg had the Tower been realised at its intended height of 400 metres, soaring above the city and straddling the river Neva. Constructed in steel as Tatlin’s design originally specified, the model brings forth the material quality of the Tower and captures Tatlin’s call to bridge-builders and engineers to ‘invent a new form’.