Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed
Over the past five years, during the course of his travels in the former Soviet Union, French photographer Frederic Chaubin has documented an extensive collection of startling architectural artifacts born during the last two decades of the Cold War. Architects in the peripheral regions of the Eastern Bloc countries, working on governmental commissions during the ‘70s and ‘80s, enjoyed a surprising degree of creative freedom. Operating in a cultural context hermetically sealed from the influence of their Western counterparts, they drew inspiration from sources ranging from expressionism, science fiction, early European modernism and the Russian Suprematist legacy to produce an idiosyncratic, flamboyant and often imaginative architectural ménage. Unexpected in their contexts, these monumental buildings stand in stark contrast to the stereotypical understanding of late Soviet architecture in which monotonously repetitive urban landscapes were punctuated by vapid exercises in architectural propaganda.