Restricted Areas – Danila Tkachenko’s photographs of Soviet ruins

Danila Tkachenko’s haunting documentary series is featured in Dead Space and Ruins, the second instalment of the Calvert 22 Foundation’s Power and Architecture exhibitions series

According to the Foundation, the wider season of exhibitions and events intends to focus “on utopian public space and the quest for new national identities across the post-Soviet world”.

Along with Tkachenko’s images of deserted structures left to weather in ice and snow, Dead Space and Ruins features the work of three other artists working within photography and film who have also been capturing the decaying architecture of the former Soviet Union: Vahram Agasian, Anton Ginzburg and Eric Lusito.

Danila Tkachenko, The world's largest diesel submarine
Danila Tkachenko, The world’s largest diesel submarine
Danila Tkachenko. Sarcophagus over a closed shaft which is 4km deep – it was one of the deepest scientific shafts in the world at the time
Danila Tkachenko. Sarcophagus over a closed shaft which is 4km deep – it was one of the deepest scientific shafts in the world at the time
Danila Tkachenko. Monument to the Conquerors of Space. The rocket on top was made according to the design of German V-2 missile
Danila Tkachenko. Monument to the Conquerors of Space. The rocket on top was made according to the design of German V-2 missile

Tkachenko’s project examines the “utopian strive of humans for technological progress,” he says, and involved visiting long-forgotten, deserted sites across the country (the exception being the Monument to the Conquerers of Space, above, which sits on top of Moscow’s Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics). The series includes other monuments, observatories, disused aircraft and numerous abandoned buildings (the full series is here).

Power and Architecture is the Calvert 22 Foundation’s second seasonal programme this year and is curated by Programme Manager Will Strong and Creative Director Ekow Eshun. The aim of the series, say the Foundation, is “to explore the design of the built environment and its use as a device of influence, both physically characterising the skyline, and psychologically in relation to the people who live in its shadow”.

Danila Tkachenko. Memorial on a deserted nuclear station
Danila Tkachenko. Memorial on a deserted nuclear station
Danila Tkachenko. Water contamination test at the lake around the previously closed scientific city Chelyabinsk-40. In 1964 there was the first nuclear catastrophe, one of the largest in history and equal in scale to Chernobyl, but it stayed secret. The city is surrounded by the lakes which are until now contaminated with radiation
Danila Tkachenko. Water contamination test at the lake around the previously closed scientific city Chelyabinsk-40. In 1964 there was the first nuclear catastrophe, one of the largest in history and equal in scale to Chernobyl, but it stayed secret. The city is surrounded by the lakes which are until now contaminated with radiation
Danila Tkachenko. Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party
Danila Tkachenko. Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party

More of Danila Tkachenko’s work is at danilatkachenko.com. Dead Space and Ruins, part two of the Power and Architecture programme, is at the Calvert 22 Foundation until August 7 (the programme runs until October 9), 22 Calvert Avenue, London E2 7JP. (Free entry, Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 6pm). Part three is entitled Citizen Activated Space – Museum of Skateboarding and opens on August 11. According to the Calvert 22 Foundation, “the installation by Russian artist Kirill Savchenkov explores the individual’s participation in the activation of public space through skateboarding”. See calvert22.org

Danila Tkachenko. Airplane – amphibia with vertical take-off VVA14. The USSR built only two of them in 1976, one of which has crashed during transportation
Danila Tkachenko. Airplane – amphibia with vertical take-off VVA14. The USSR built only two of them in 1976, one of which has crashed during transportation
Danila Tkachenko. Former residential buildings in a deserted polar scientific town specialised on biological research
Danila Tkachenko. Former residential buildings in a deserted polar scientific town specialised on biological research
Hide Comments1 Show Comment

More from CR

Rest stop at Winona, Texas, from The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside

The Last Stop: Ryann Ford documents the American roadside rest stop

The road trip has long been a central part of US culture. As the country’s highway system evolved so did the architecture of the roadside rest stops that provide a place to picnic and take a break. From teepees to oil drills, photographer Ryann Ford has been documenting their design

Soviet Film Posters of the Silent Screen

The Gallery of Russian Art and Design’s latest exhibition includes rarely seen posters promoting silent films from the 1920s. Open until March, it offers a fascinating look at early film advertising and the use of cinematic techniques in print communications.

Lecturer Design Management

Kingston University

Design Assistant

Cultureshock Media