For us, said Nikita Khrushchev in his memoirs, ‘there was something supernatural about the Metro’. Visiting any of the dozen or so Metro networks built across the Soviet Union between the 1930s and 1980s, it is easy to see why. Rather than the straightforward systems of London, Paris or New York, these networks were used as a propaganda artwork – a fusion of sculpture, architecture and art, combining Byzantine, medieval, baroque and Constructivist ideas and infusing them with the notion that Communism would mean a ‘communal luxury’ for all. Today these astonishing spaces remain the closest realisation of a Soviet utopia.
Following his best-selling quest for Soviet Bus Stops, Christopher Herwig has completed a subterranean expedition – photographing the stations of each Metro network of the former USSR. From extreme marble and chandelier opulence to brutal futuristic minimalist glory, Soviet Metro Stations documents this wealth of diverse architecture. Along the way Herwig captures individual elements that make up this singular Soviet experience: neon, concrete, escalators, signage, mosaics and relief sculptures all combine build an unforgettably vivid map of the Soviet Metro.
The photographs are introduced by leading architecture, politics and culture author and journalist Owen Hatherley.
Table of Contents
Essay by Owen Hatherley • Soivet Metro station photographs from: Moscow • St Petersburg • Tashkent • Kiev • Baku • Tbilisi • Minsk • Yerevan • Novosibirsk • Yekaterinburg • Samara • Nizhny Novgorod • Kryvyi Rih • Dnipro • Kharkiv