When Does an Artist Know When a Piece of Work Is Completed?



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ART002-3 – Key Ideas in Art and Design: Current Debates
“When Does an Artist Know When a Piece of Work Is Completed?”
Intro –

‘When does an artist know when a piece of work is completed?’ a question that could maybe never be answered, as there isn’t really a right or wrong in art, but that’s another question all together! My aim for this essay is too be able to look at previous debates where this topic has been discussed over the years and try and identify how it has become such a mainstream topic of discussion. I have recently visited the ‘unfinished’ exhibition at Somerset House in September and I am currently reading ‘Chance’ from the Whitechapel series for further research and understanding, and looking for articles & reviews to build up my argument. I will be splitting this essay into four parts, breaking it down by the type of research applied, there will be: History, Future, Interpretation and Reasoning. I want too show how all four terms can be used when deciding if a piece is finished or not…What is the history behind the piece? What inspires me in this piece moving forward? Have I interpreted what I wanted too in this piece? Will the audience understand the reason behind this piece? Questions I ask myself when I’m nearing the end, too help me decide if I am happy and done with a piece of work.


Section 3 – Case study one – History - The Palace of Soviets:
The Palace of Soviets (pictured below) was a massive architectural project undertaken by the Soviet Union at the outset of WWII. It was a building in Moscow designed to be an administrative center and congress hall, and if finished it would have become the world’s tallest structure. The plan for the building was decided via a countrywide public contest where 272 building concepts were submitted, and after a lengthy judging process, architect Boris Iofan was declared the winner. Construction on the building began in 1937, and by 1941 the building’s huge steel frame had been erected. Russian involvement in WWII brought an abrupt end to construction, and the building’s steel frame was eventually cut, dismantled, and used to build fortifications and railway bridges in and around Moscow. After the war ended, there was much talk of completing the project, but though the site was kept open until 1958, the Palace of Soviets was eventually abandoned. [1]

The Palace of the Soviets was a project to construct an administrative center and a congress hall in Moscow, Russia, near the Kremlin, on the site of the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The architectural contest for the Palace of the Soviets (1931–1933) was won by Boris Iofan's neoclassical concept, subsequently revised by Iofan, Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Gelfreikh into a skyscraper. If built, it would have become the world's tallest structure of its time. Construction started in 1937, and was terminated by the German invasion in 1941. In 1941–1942, its steel frame was disassembled for use in fortifications and bridges. Construction was never resumed. In 1958, the foundations of the Palace were converted into what would become the world's largest open-air swimming pool, the Moskva Pool. The Cathedral was rebuilt in 1995–2000. [2]



The original building (Cathedral of Christ the Saviour) was built during the 19th century, took more than 40 years to build. It was destroyed in 1931 on the order of the then Soviet Leader, Joseph Stalin. [3] The demolition was supposed to make way for the Palace but unforeseen events 4 years after construction began saw this to never be completed. My argument for this building being, because it was a huge operation for the country, why couldn’t it have been finished after that time? And that it wouldn’t have been acceptable for it too have been left half finished because it was a building, yet with a painting for example it can be left incomplete yet be deemed as completed. Instead of continuing the build of the Palace, In February 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission from the Soviet Government to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. A temporary cornerstone was laid by the end of the year. The restorer Aleksey Denisov was called upon to design a replica of extraordinary accuracy. The re-built Cathedral today (pictured below)

Taken from an article written by Josh Wilson on March’11 of this year, I wanted too include a couple images that Wilson had posted of what the Palace of Soviets would have looked like today if it was completed. [4]

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