Vertiginous Moscow

Vertiginous Moscow

Stalin's City Today

  1. Gabriele Basilico
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  • ISBN 9780500543788
  • 34.00 x 24.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 160pp
  • 76 Illustrations, 55 in colour
  • First published 2009

See the review in Wallpaper* magazine including a slide show.

Over the last fifteen years, Moscow has undergone vast and radical transformations, which have turned it into an extraordinary urban laboratory.

This photographic project by Gabriele Basilico, in association with the architect Umberto Zanetti, was inspired by a desire to document this metamorphosis, and takes as its focal point the city’s seven Stalinist towers, known in Russian as the vysotnye zdania, or ‘tall buildings’.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Stalin’s skyscrapers assumed a key role in the town plan of Moscow. They convincingly blended ideology, architectural monument and urban form to embody the idea of ‘Socialist Realism’, and between the end of the war and the death of Stalin they provided inspiration for the reconstruction of major cities in the Soviet Union and many cities in Eastern Europe. They continue to play an important role today: their unmistakable image is forcibly impressed on Moscow, where the vertical accent is ever more prominent.

Basilico’s images use the towers as a privileged viewpoint for a vertiginous exploration and contemplation of the changing fabric of Moscow. After half a century of history, his work allows these striking buildings to be re-evaluated in the context of the new urban landscape of the 21st century.

Originally trained as an architect, Italian-born Gabriele Basilico is now one of Europe’s leading fine art photographers. Thames & Hudson has published two of his books, Cityscapes and Berlin.