Timofey Zhilin stacks brutalist landmarks for dystopian architectural vision

The 'Brutalic Spider' carries a vision for new human settlement.

MOSCOW – Looking at some of Timofey Zhilin’s collages brings to mind popular photography of flamboyant architecture in the former Soviet Union by the likes of Jan Kampanaers or Frederic Chaubin. Hulled in greyscales, the artist piles and stacks brutalist landmarks on top of each other – a graphic hommage to the excessive architecture of the Soviet Union.

Other works – the ones he refers to as his ‘early ones’ – merge different realities to unexpected fantasies. His Brutalic Spider might seem like a dystopian vision, but a closer look reveals an imagined world with desirable features. By assembling a habitable structure on top of artist Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture Maman (a prominent spider of monumental size), he plays on the positive attributes of the unpopular insect. In Bourgeois’ work, the spider is introduced as a maternal figure and described as ‘deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat and useful’. Zhilin laughs: ‘It’s the only contraindication for people who suffer from arachnophobia.’

Dore and Woods

The topics and layers found in the collages are manifold. His images have featured Italian paintings, the French engraver Gustave Doré and enfant terrible Lebbeus Woods, while Zhilin names classics like Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture and Robert Venturi’s Learning from Las Vegas as the theoretical side of his interest in architecture. 

The sources of his inspiration seem to be equally abundant: while some works originate from artistic or architectural enquiry, at other times he ‘just looks at the choreographic movement of the meatballs in his soup while listening to classical music.’


Right now, the native Muscovite is entering a new phase. He wants to experiment more creating his own graphic elements instead of assembling existing works of art. Luckily, Timofey Zhilin has plenty of time to explore and push boundaries – the young artist is only 15 years of age. We wish him the best of luck.

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