My Beautiful Venetian Launderette
By The Art Newspaper. From In The Frame
Published online: 31 July 2012
If, by chance, you feel like cleaning your clothes in Venice next month, why not pop in to the Casa dei Tre Oci, a grand 20th-century palazzo on the Giudecca, where visitors can use a fully operational soviet-style launderette installed by emerging artist Arseniy Zhilyaev (Laundry, 2012). But why launch a piece, made up of spin cycles and soap suds, at the heart of La Serenissima? "Public laundries were part of a utopian urban planning that traces back to constructivist commune houses where all aspects of private life had to be shared. This intention revealed itself in the architecture of the houses of the new type that were built starting from the late 1920s; there were no kitchen or laundry facilities in the apartments because these types of private activities were supposed to be performed publicly," say the curators Katerina Chuchalina and Silvia Franceschini. "Thus appeared the famous soviet canteens or laundries that lasted in the Russian cities until the fall of the Soviet Union... Zhilyaev's project is an attempt to reenact this long disappeared practice into a new and unusual context." The work forms part of an exhibition, "The Way of Enthusiasts" (29 August-25 November), organised by the non-profit, Moscow-based V-A-C Foundation. The show, a collateral event at the Architecture Biennale, also includes works by Yuri Palmin and Alexandra Galkina, among others.
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