The conference will take place alongside Tashkent Modernism. Index exhibition, a crucial component of the project that will present to the Tashkent public the results of two years of meticulous research. Initially inaugurated to a professional audience at the Triennale Milano 2023 in April, the show consists of two interdependent layers: the specially commissioned photographs by artist Armin Linke and the archival display that articulates the research themes and showcases the elements of the preservation strategies. The Tashkent edition of the exhibition will be expanded and enriched by original archival documents as well as artworks from the collection of the State Museum of Art from the 1960–80s that celebrate the culture and architecture of these decades.
Through the images and narratives of 20 buildings the exhibition explores key themes related to architectural, social and cultural history of Tashkent and its current condition. It exposes the Soviet modernist layer of Tashkent as a unique artistic, cultural and social phenomenon capable of adequately revealing the specific character of Soviet modernization in Central Asia. More than just another “peripheral case” of multiple modernities or a white spot on the world map of architectural modernism of XX century, this architecture – being relevant to the global cultural scene – reflects the colonial, postcolonial and, at the same time, decolonial aspects of the Soviet social and cultural experiment. After WWII Tashkent was assigned the role of the capital of the Soviet Orient, a vitrine of socialism in the East. Conceived by both local and Moscow architects, the distinctive quality of Tashkent modernism derives from the tension between this aspiration to embody the socialist Orient in architecture and the one that resisted it to find more subtle interpretations of the local. The exhibition consists of two interwoven layers: photographs by Armin Linke, and archival documentation, exposing the research narratives and preservation strategies.
The archive includes fragments of research materials, analytical and preservation processes. Departing from a specific building, it articulates the key themes for understanding Soviet modernism: the relationship between the centre and the periphery; the role of institutions; typological, technological and materials experimentation; the competition between republics; the ideology, the orientalism, post-independence transformations and the contemporary condition. The archive also elucidates the repertoire of preservation strategies that have been developed specifically for Tashkent.
Tashkent Modernism. Index, is curated by Ekaterina Golovatyuk, architect, co-founder of Grace, coordinator of Tashkent Modernism.XX/XXI project.