Visitors to Casa dei Tre Oci, a grand 20th century palazzo on the Guidecca can see a fully operational soviet-style laundrette installed by artist Arsenly Zhilyaev. The project is part of the exhibition The Way of Enthusiasts organised by the not-for-profit, Moscow-based V-A-C Foundation as a collateral event at Venice's Architecture Biennale.
“Public laundries were part of the utopian urban planning that traces back to the constructivist commune houses where all aspects of private life had to be shared. This intention revealed itself in the architecture of the houses of the new type that were built in starting from the late 1920s; there were no kitchen or laundry facilities in the apartments because these types of private activities were supposed to be performed publicly,” say the curators Katerina Chuchalina and Silvia Franceschini. “Thus appeared the famous soviet canteens or laundries that lasted in Russian cities until the fall of the Soviet Union… Zhilyae's project is an attempt to re-enact this long disappeared practice into a new and unusual context.”
Image: Arsenly Zhilyaev's Laundry, 2012