Born in Moldova in 1957, architect, artist and curator Yuri Avvakumov has been exhibiting his works since graduating from the Moscow Architectural Institute in 1981. He started Agitarch Studio in 1988, and established the Utopia Foundation in 1993. He is most famous for introducing the concept of ‘paper architecture’ in 1984, a term describing the genre of conceptual design in the USSR which has entered the history of architecture and Russian art. In 1986, he started a series entitled ‘Temporary Monuments’ which was dedicated to the Constructivism of the 1920s. His architectural and artistic designs are populated by recurring themes: wooden scaffolding and ladders, cranes, staircases and fences, trolleybus cables and advertising slogans, engineering works and historical monuments, walls and bridges.
Exhibitions include Paper Architecture in Moscow (Youth magazine, 1984 / Moscow Architectural Institute, 1992 / State Museum of Architecture, 1994); Ljubljana (SCUC, 1986); Paris (La Villette, 1988); Milan (Palazzo dell’Arte, 1988); Frankfurt (Deutsches Architekturmuseum, 1989); Cologne (Linssen, 1991); Brussels (Foundation pour l’Architecture, 1990); Zürich (Architekturforum, 1990); Cambridge (List Visual Arts Center, MIT, 1990); New Orleans (Contemporary Arts Center, 1991); Austin (Huntington Gallery,1991); Amherst (Fine Arts Center, 1992); Volgograd (Museum/Exhibition Center, 1997) etc.
His 1986 series ‘Temporary Monuments’, dedicated to the constructivism of the 1920s, was exhibited at Linssen Gallery, Cologne (1990); Russian Museum, St. Petersburg and Museum of Architecture, Moscow (1992/93); Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin and State Historical Museum, Moscow (2003/04).
He took part in the Venice Biennale in 1996 (‘Sensing the Future Architect as Seismograph’) and in 2003 (‘Utopia Station’). From 1996-2000, his installation ‘Russian Utopia: a Depository’ was exhibited in Venice (Russian Pavilion); Rotterdam (Netherlands Architecture Institute); Moscow (State Museum of Architecture); Volgograd (Museum and Exhibition Center) and St Petersburg (State Russian Museum).
From 2000-03 he curated Photoprogram 24, 36 exhibitions of urban/architectural photography, hosted by the State Museum of Architecture and Moscow House of Photography.
In 2007 he curated ‘Bornhouse’ exhibition at Vkhutemas Gallery, Moscow (during the Second Biennale of Contemporary Art); in 2008 at the Peter’n’Paul fortress museum, St Petersburg and the San Stae cathedral, Venice (during 11th Biennale of Architecture); in 2009 at the St Marie Madeleine cathedral, Lille (during Europe XXL festival).
Public collections: State Russian Museum, St Petersburg / State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow / State Museum of Architecture, Moscow / Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt-on-Main / Victoria & Albert Museum, London / ZKM Museum of New Art, Karlsruhe / Moderna galerija, Ljubljana / Nasher Museum, Duke University, North Carolina / Stella Art Foundation etc.
Visual Test, Triumph Gallery, Moscow
Games, Stella Art Foundation, Moscow
Red Corner, Stella Art Gallery, Moscow
La Scala, Krokin Gallery, Moscow
MiSCeLLaNeouS, State Museum of Architecture, Moscow
A. S. Pushkin and Money, XL Gallery, Moscow
Russian Utopia: A Depository, Venice Biennale, Venice; Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands ; State Museum of Architecture, Moscow;
Russia Museum and Exhibition Center, Volgograd, Russia; State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
1:43, Karlheinz Meyer Gallery, Karlsruhe, Russia
Temporary Monuments, Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; State Museum of Architecture, Moscow
Illiquid Assets (with Sergey Shutov), 1st Gallery, Moscow
Walls and Ladders (with Alyona Kirtsova), State Museum of Architecture, Moscow
AgitArch, Linssen Gallery, Cologne, Germany