Polytope – Lights of the Avantgarde

Following on from my Portable Monument for El Lissitzky & Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers here my shortlisted entry for the second stage of the international design competition Worlds of El Lissitzky. Launched by the Siberian Center for Contemporary Art and the Siberian Center for the Promotion of Architecture in Novosibirsk, Russia, the brief asked for a commemorative object for the Jewish-Russian architect, designer and artist El Lissitzky (1890-1941). The site is located next to the Globe Theatre in central Novosibirsk.







Polytope – Lights of the Avantgarde

Throughout their peripatetic lives El Lissitzky and his wife, the German art historian Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers (1891-1978) formed trans-disciplinary collaborations and close artistic friendships with their contemporaries from the fields of the visual arts, design, architecture, literature, theatre and film. The project pays tribute to these, biographical as well as geographical interrelationships between the Russian and the Western European Avantgarde in the first half of the twentieth century.

The spatial configuration of the object consists of a faceted form that defines an inner cubic space. Via the topological manipulations of shifts and rotations the original figure of a Tesseract – the mathematical representation of a four-dimensional cube – is transformed into a complex polyhedron with multiple orientations. The two facing walls of the framed space are equipped with infrared light and heat sources illuminating the object from within and radiating warmth during the long Siberian winter. The light boxes list the names of the selected protagonists of the Avantgarde and register the key stations of their respective paths of lives.

Placed next to the Globus Theatre the object’s position mediates between the different contexts of the site. In conjunction with the proposed landscaping and the reconstructed reflective pool Polytope transforms the plateau into a civic stage for cultural events and performances. The project marks a public place in the heart of Novosibirsk and pays homage to the people and places of the Lissitzkys’ cosmopolitan artistic collaborators and friends.

Polytope – Lights of the Avant-garde

Shortlisted entry for the international design competition Worlds of El Lissitzky (Stage 2)

Gabor Stark, 2014