1915 - 1920

«Architectural Romanticism»
1931 -1944

Possessing the ability to live with a myriad of ideas at a time, Chernikhov expressed himself above all in architectural fantasy, where spatial and graphic architectural elements were combined. Architectural graphics--having become in his interpretation an independent area of architectural creativity--communicates to the viewer its vision of the world precisely by showing the individual way of thinking of its creator. Therefore, these works live an independent life, just as a painting, a sculpture or a completed structure. Their clearly perceptible architectonics, in combination with a strict exquisiteness and musicality, produces a specific magnetic effect on the viewer. This is the reason why the art of Iakov Chernikhov lends itself with such difficulty to generally accepted classifications. For many in those years this circumstance was seen as the basic principle in Chernikhov’s work, and for that reason one often heard an appraisal of him primarily as a unique master of architectural graphics. Indeed, he completely possessed all known graphic techniques, yet that was never an end in itself or, more precisely, not the only end.
His passion for hand-made graphic art in an age of machine graphics now looks superfluous and old-fashioned, as he had predicted. But it was based also on his absolute confidence that in the new age graphics would become the second language of civilization, and it would be necessary not only to know it but have a free command of it, be able to express with its help the ideas and emerging perceptions, to construct and compose new forms. Iakov Chernikhov’s graphics are both a means of expression and a means of composition at the same time.

“If we could have realized all that we had in mind then! - exclaimed later Konstantin Melnikov, speaking of the 1920s. - We had deprived several generations of art.” But the architectural fantasies of Iakov Chernikhov, much like projects by Ivan Leonidov, works by Melnikov himself, and other pioneers of Soviet architecture--even if not implemented--have provided subsequent generations with the opportunity to comprehend the great art of architecture in all its immeasurable richness and beauty.



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