The period following the Second World War up until the 60s and 70s was marked by infrastructural thinking that aimed for innovation, optimism and universality (something that feels very distant today, as another 30 luxury apartments demand every public resource within range of them be shut, like a spray of pesticide on the surrounding area). The humble concrete panel is what fuelled a lot of that optimistic thinking, allowing for rapid rebuilding following the war, as well as the construction of homes that lifted millions out of tenements and slums. Its value can be seen in how it cropped up in imagery from the time, and it’s that imagery, as well as an examination of the panels themselves and their modern descendants that takes pride of place in this ArkDes exhibition.
Flying Panels, ArkDes, on display until Mar 2020
Photo: ‘Thanks, cranes!’, Yu Cherepanov, Crocodile, No. 24, 1969, Soviet Union