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    People often ask me why I “got” into the classics... Some people regretfully listen to my explanations, others shake their heads with understanding, considering this an action, as a continuation of the artistic PR. My lecture is entirely devoted to a retrospective of creativity and memories leading up to credo through experience, feelings and logic. Projects of the 80s, made in collaboration with A. Brodsky, were a bunch of unspent energy, no one needs self-expression. This was not an act of disobedience, but a kind of protest to the Soviet regime, which also allowed them to live freely and interestingly outside the generally accepted “system”. The projects were conceptual in nature, in addition, they had graphic value. Subsequently, these graphic sheets became the basis of a large exhibition that visited many countries. So during the Gorbachev thaw, thanks to our interest in Soviet art, we traveled almost the whole world. We saw a lot of interesting things. Did installations, exhibitions, projects. This lasted from 1987 to 1993. There we personally got acquainted with the “system” of Western art. The system works flawlessly and hard - first you need something new, then advertising, fame, money. Swindlers do not stand up for a long time, and even talented artists, falling into this whirlpool, become slaves to the consumption machine. The work here has its own conditions and laws, and it is exhausting, hard work. It is worth taking a step to the side, and you are out of the system. We left, returned, and again left. The beginning of the 90s, the period of euphoria of freedom and justice was short-lived. Moscow has become an experimental training ground for the “system” already familiar to me. Also, the construction machine worked hard and without fail, destroying old Moscow, squeezing out every square meter of space from space. A new war has begun, reminiscent of a battle with windmills. For my part, this is a photo exhibition and installation - “Melancholy”. Then a lot of work together with the “Protection of Monuments” - Syromyatniki (together with C. Shestopalov), where we proposed a new approach to the reconstruction of the historical buildings of the city. From the 95th to the 99th, about 30 project proposals were made on various topics in which a “credo” was developed. This attitude to the environment, to their culture, social policy, to the problems of authenticity, to the problems of ethics and aesthetics. In 2000, I managed to fill a huge exhibition hall in the Moscow Architecture Committee with my unfulfilled projects. In the same 2000, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Venice Architecture Biennale, of which I want to share my impressions. It seems to me that the whole main exposition of the Biennale looked ridiculous, which tried to combine all the trends of progress to save the world, using, at the same time, the background of prosperous Venice. The organizers of the Biennale thought differently. They enthusiastically proved to skeptics the possibility of creating the most extraordinary and ugly forms of cosmic dimensions. International architecture really stands at the forefront of globalization. Its specific features are, again, the production of a consumer product. Change in human values. Unification and standardization, simplification of all creative problems, reducing them to a dilemma - will the product be eaten. For this, "stars" are grown to make food more expensive and tastier. Globalism destroys everything: nature and the amazing diversity of the world, nationality, religion and culture. Fuchsas, who announced the theme of the Biennale - “ethics against aesthetics”, scared people with disasters. The British - the fantasies of "star" architects. Irreversible changes occur in the heads. I was struck by the exposition of Japan. Young architects showed clothes for pregnant women in the form of colored houses-cocoons. And this fantasy seemed to me not harmless. In order to not see all this, it was enough to look in the opposite direction at Santa Maria Maggiore and calm down. But passions raged. Each proved his point. Oddly enough, the cunning Frenchman, Jean Nouvel, won, who painted the pavilion using the ten-year-old sozart technique, thereby reducing all the serious questions posed by the Biennale to a nice joke. When I found out that I also received a prize, I was sincerely delighted to feel how Globalism retreated one step. And all is not lost ... He retreats completely when you find yourself outside the gates of Giardini Park. Venice by itself gives an answer to the questions posed. The architecture of the city was created over the centuries, by the labor and love of the townspeople. Love is ethics, beauty is aesthetics. Together they form the basis of human architecture. The logic and essence of the international architecture of modern globalism is devilishly simple - it asks the soul for satiety and comfort. And it’s hard to resist. But the outcome of the Venice Biennale is not so bad. Traditions are still strong in old Europe, cultural values ​​are preserved, and legacy protection systems are in place. They understand that it is necessary to counteract the impending globalism in order to maintain the entire ecosystem. In Russia, a human gene pool capable of preserving traditional values ​​has been destroyed for 100 years. You will not find such architects in the elite environment - they are all absorbed in their ambitious ambitions. Only a small handful of intellectuals expelled from everywhere, retirement age, arrange a quiet funeral of another monument of architecture. It is impossible to maintain and defend the right to a human environment in a historical city - commercial interests are too high, outweighing all cultural and moral values. If we talk about private architecture, then there is scope for creativity and you can convince the customer to make human architecture for himself. Tradition, proportions, and a connection with nature are valued here. The fact that you can win, says "House on Levshinsky." True, there was a three-year war at all stages and levels. But the result, in my opinion, was worth it. The house contextually fit into the existing buildings. But the trouble is - the surrounding houses, which serve as a formative context, also begin to break ... But one does not have to lose heart. There is a lot of work and orders: from city planning to stage design in the theater. The main thing is that an interested customer has appeared, thinking not only about momentary benefits. I think the style of the classical understanding of architecture is correct and modern. And countering the forces of globalism is an urgent need of our time. The creation of balance, harmony, peace is the credo of the "eccentric architect" Ilya Utkin. It is difficult to go against the tide, but I feel the support of friends, grateful students and children.



Ilya Utkin

  February 2003

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