Lazar Khidekel

Born: 1904, Vitebsk
Died: 1986, Leningrad

Architect, painter, graphic artist, applied artist, teacher. Brother of the architect Lev Khidekel (1909–1977). Born in Vitebsk (1904) in the family of a Jewish stonemason called Mordukh Khidekel (1867–1932). Studied under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky at the Vitebsk School of Art (1918–22). Introduced to Suprematism by Kazimir Malevich (1919). Headed the architecture and technical faculty with Ilya Chashnik at the Vitebsk School of Art after El Lissitzky moved to Moscow (1920). Founding member of UNOVIS (1920), contributed to the UNOVIS almanac (1922). Designed and published the AERO lithographed magazine with Ilya Chashnik (1920–21). Studied architecture at the VKhUTEMAS in Moscow (1921). Returned to Vitebsk (1921), where he graduated from the Vitebsk School of Art (1922). Accompanied Kazimir Malevich and a group of other students to Petrograd (1922). Worked as a research assistant in the architectural and technical department of the Institute of Artistic Culture and helped Malevich to cast plaster architectons (1923–26). Studied the history of architecture at the Leningrad Institute of Civil Engineers (1923–29), where he designed a Suprematist workers club (1926, published under Malevich’s name in Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst in Berlin) and a series of futuristic projects, including a garden-town, an aero-town on stilts and an aqua-town above water (1925–29). Helped Alexander Nikolsky to turn the portal of the Church of St Nicholas and St Alexandra the Holy Empress at the former Putilov Iron Works into the entrance of the Red Putilov Worker Club (1928–29). Headed a studio at Lenproject (from 1934). Invited by Nikolai Suetin and Konstantin Rozhdestvensky to design a restaurant in the Jardins du Trocadéro in Paris during the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1936), later vetoed by Joseph Stalin (1937). Head architect of the Mekhanobr Institute of Mineral Processing evacuated to the Urals during the Second World War (1941–45). Designed the Moscow Cinema at 6 Old Peterhof Prospekt (1939), Law Institute of Leningrad University at 98 Maly Okhta Prospekt (1953) and schools at 11 Myasnaya Street (1938), 57A Gorokhovaya Street (1940) and 143 Obvodny Canal Embankment (1954). Taught architecture at the Leningrad Institute of Civil Engineers/Institute of Engineering and Construction (1930–85, dean of the faculty of architecture). Died in Leningrad and buried at Komarovo Cemetery (1986). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1919). Contributed to the First State Exhibition of Pictures by Local and Moscow Artists at the Borokhov Club in Vitebsk (1919), Die erste russische Kunstausstellung in the Galerie Van Diemen at 21 Unter den Linden in Berlin (1922), Exhibition of Pictures of Petrograd Artists of All Directions at the Academy of Arts in Petrograd (1923), Unification of Modern Architects in Moscow (1928) and posthumous one-man shows at the Musée d’art de Joliette in Montreal (1992, authorship of exhibits contested by Mark and Regina Khidekel), Leonard Hutton Galleries in New York (1995), Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley (2005), Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich (2010–11), Proun Gallery in Moscow (2011), Leuenhof at 32 Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich (2012), The Floating Worlds and Future Cities at the YVO Institute in New York (2013), Aviation and Avant-Garde at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow (2014), Khidekel Element – Suprematism for Humanity in the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2014) and Building Drawings, Drawing Buildings: Lazar Khidekel, Suprematism and the Russian Avant-Garde at the Pushkin House in London (2014).

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