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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book Review: "Tatlin's Tower: Monument to Revolution"

Vladimir Tatlin, the artist whose work is the subject of Norbert Lynton's last - and posthumous - book, was a dreamer in that great utopian age. Born in 1885, Tatlin grew up in Kharkov, a major industrial city but also a centre of revolutionary thought in the Romanov Empire. At the age of fourteen or fifteen, he ran away to sea, and though he later trained at a succession of art schools, the freedom of travel (and the appeal of boats, rigging and masts) remained central to his later work. What mattered to him most, however, was art's creative potential to explore, embody and inspire the optimism of an experimental age. His two most famous projects - neither of which, fittingly, was ever realised - reflect his faith in liberation and harmony. One was to be a massive tower, a working building as well as a monument; the other was a series of prototypes intended to allow individual human flight, an airborne bicycle whose purpose (apart from acting as a form of transport) was to take humans upwards into a better future.

link: Literary Review - Catherine Merridale on Taitlin's Tower by Norbert Lynton


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