This museum and exhibition centre opened in September 2010 inside a new basement of a legendary sculpture by Vera Mukhina – ‘Worker and Kolkhoz Woman’. The 24-meter sculpture of Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, a masterpiece of soviet and world modernism of the first half of XX century, was created using new technologies discovered by Russian metallographist, Professor P.N. Lvov. A many-tons carcass is covered with chrome and nickel steel shell jointed by welding. The statue was created for a Soviet pavilion in Paris World Exhibition 1937 and was furiously pointing towards the eagle with raised feathers and swastika in the cornice in the German pavilion opposite the Soviet. The collection of MEC Worker and Kolkhoz Woman stores materials indicating that Boris Iofan was the author of the sculpture’s idea. He was inspired by plastic theme of antique Tyrant-fighters statue. The arms raised to the sky with swords were replaced with the arms with peaceful symbols, Soviet country emblems – a reaping hook and a hammer. The fact that the author of the image idea was Iofan is confirmed by the sketches of the sculpture performed for a closed competition of 1936 by V.A. Andreev, V.I. Mukhina and M.G. Manizer. At first glance, all versions (except for the one participating in 1936 competition, an expressionist monument by I.D. Shadr) are very similar. The same posture of two figures, the same raised arms. The male authors made the characters look like antique gods ice cold in their perfection and Vera Mukhina showed the raging undefeated strength of their internal energy and passion.
After the sculpture returned to its homeland, for seventy years it has been meeting the guest of North Gate to All-Soviet Agriculture Exhibition/Exhibition of National Economic Achievements. It stood on a low basement (11 meters) growing older and older. Mukhina and Iofan till the end of their lives strived to make a basement of appropriate height, to transfer the statute to some other symbolic place suitable for the right visual scenery of city space (Vera Mukhina wished to see her ‘children’ in Lenin hills). It did not occur when those masters were alive. However, modern post-soviet art liked the monument and turned it to an object for new happenings and performances. Here we can note the event of 1998 when architects and artists gowned Worker and Kolkhoz Woman in real over-rolls and a dress of Russian flag colours.
Today the sculpture is placed on the basement-pavilion created under inspiration of Boris Iofan’s design for Paris exhibition 1937. In this way, the theme for a new domestic art path from innovations of the first half XX century to the avant-garde of the first half of this century is deliberately highlighted.
Mira pr-t, 123b Moscow 125009 Metro station: VDNKh