Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Of Salaspils: Monumental Soviet Sculpture

In general, the Soviet era produced a lot of really unexceptional sculpture: When it wasn't Lenin staring into the future, it was a big, blocky, heroic workers. The sculptures at Salaspils are of the latter style. However, they work somehow. I think part of it is the subject matter - big blocks of drab concrete echo the prison site; the epic, expressive poses actually fit the subject matter of such a tragic scene; and it doesn't hurt that the space they're in is so huge that they can make sculptures many stories tall and not have them look totally out of place. I'm not saying these are great sculptures, but the style certainly works better at Salaspils than it does in the parks of Riga.

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