The Lenin, the first nuclear-powered ice-breaker in the world, is anchored today, preserved in its original Soviet magnificence, in Murmansk as a museum ship. Russian and Austrian artists have developed works on relevant contemporary themes for an exhibition on board in Fall 2013. In LENTOS a selection will be shown of the works on the Cold War and its consequences with a documentation from Murmansk.
In Cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forum Moscow.
The exhibition will be on display in an adapted version at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in Fall 2014.
Judith Fegerl | G.R.A.M. | Johanna und Helmut Kandl | Taisija Korotkova | Maria Koshenkova | Sonia Leimer | Marko Lulic | Alexander Lysov | Alexander Povzner | Isa Rosenberger | Michael Strasser | Leonid Tishkov | Anya Titova
The Lenin: more than a ship, more than an exhibition venue
Certainly, an outsider, a landlubber who might only just be familiar with the more readily conceivable lake landscape (for all its beauty) of their homeland, can only begin to understand a ship such as the Lenin icebreaker, and what it stands for. The ship itself, its history and its fitments, and not least its complement, certainly make an incomparable impression on even the most unprepared visitor. As the first civilian nuclear-powered ship, as a modern icebreaker, it is a marvel of engineering, a pioneer that opened up Arctic routes, a manifestation and showcase of Soviet progress, a work of art with all its original equipment, a monument and museum accessible to the public. The ship itself is worthy of many labels. In its long and impressive history it has experienced many great moments and played host to a whole raft of high-ranking personalities: alongside Soviet state leaders people such as Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon and Yuri Gagarin, whose name is inseparably linked with the Soviet Union’s space programme, like the Lenin icebreaker a milestone of technological progress.
For a good ten years now this proud vessel has been at anchor in its home port; its nuclear propulsion elements have been removed, and as the city’s main attraction it is open to the general public. The Lenin icebreaker has no more lost its soul than it has its captain, its dedicated crew and — from an art history point of view – the high standard of fitments and furnishings of its representative premises, not to mention the impressive engine rooms with their original equipment and technical sophistication. The Lenin is a work of art in its own right, which is why part of this publication is given over to photographic documentation. In any case, the Lenin is more than a ship now in retirement; it has earned its place in shipping history and its place as a showcase of Soviet progress — with all the dramatic staging that entails.
The Lenin tells the story of supposedly unstoppable progress in a new world order and was itself proof positive of its realization. And then there is another, very intimate aspect, one which leads into another world. It is an aspect that would remain inaccessible to the visitor if the vessel in question were simply a museum ship. However, the Lenin has its captain, a chief engineer (who also features as an artist in our project with his stunning photographs taken in the 1970s), and a crew. The seamen who live and lived on the ship are somehow organically linked to it.