Landmarks: Tatlin's Monumnet

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The Independent Culture
My choice of a landmark is perhaps an unusual one because although the design is one of the great symbols of modern artistic achievement, for some reason it has never been made into a permanent structure. Tatlin's Monument was designed to celebrate a key moment in the Russian Revolution, the Third International, and at that time artists from all disciplines were doing work that at one stroke overthrew everything that had gone beforehand. Tatlin's idea, developed between 1919 and 1920, was to make a 1,200ft tower in the form of two interlocking spirals that would wind up around an inclined mast. This would produce an enveloping structure inside which three solid objects were to contain the equivalent of the Houses of Parliament. Each of these solids would rotate at different speeds on a spindle. The whole idea of information was very important to the Russian people and the building was to have display screens issuing news, as well as a special projector that would throw words onto the clouds.

It has a combination of both the rational and the romantic, it is an object that has the purest forms and also has extraordinarily romantic double spirals that wind up as if they are going on into infinity.

In 1971 we worked on a 40 ft-high reconstruction of this project. Having done the detective work, we know how to build it. It is really a tragedy that this hasn't been followed up with a bigger, permanent construction as it would be a wonderful thing to have in London.

Jeremy Dixon is a partner with Jeremy Dixon Edward Jones, London W1. Photograph shows the reconstruction for the 1971 'Art in Revolution' exhibition at the Hayward Gallery by Jeremy Dixon, Chris Cross, Chris Woodward and Sven Rindl

(Photograph omitted)