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Temporary Structures Gorky Park: From Konstantin Melnikov to Shigeru Ban opens at Garage in Moscow
Rendering of Garage Center for Contemporary Culture’s Temporary Pavilion in Gorky Park, Moscow, 2012. Architect: Shigeru Ban© Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.

MOSCOW.- Garage Center for Contemporary Culture will present a new exhibition entitled Temporary Structures Gorky Park: From Konstantin Melnikov to Shigeru Ban from 19 October to 9 December 2012 in the newly created Shigeru Ban temporary pavilion in Moscow. Showing rare archival drawings - many of which have never been seen before – the exhibition will begin by revealing the profound history of structures created in the park since the site was first developed to hold the All Russian Agricultural and Handicraft Exhibition in 1923; then move through the Russian avant-garde period to finish with some of the most interesting contemporary unrealized designs created by Russian architects today.

By their nature, temporary structures have always encouraged indulgent experimentation, which has sometimes resulted in ground-breaking progressive design. This exhibition recognizes such experimentation and positions the pavilion as an architectural typology that oscillates between art object and architectural prototype. Throughout the history of architecture, the temporary structure has always served as a space of reverence, enjoyment, pleasure or as a medium for architectural innovation and polemics. It is easy to understand why the appeal for architects to realize their ideas in a temporary structure is still as relevant today as it ever was. Often, these ephemeral structures are temporarily erected for a specific event or happening, although sometimes they become permanent.

Russia has an immensely rich avant-garde history of realized and unrealized temporary structures. In many ways, these structures – often constructed of insubstantial materials – allowed Soviet architects the ability to express the aspirations of the revolution. They frequently became vehicles for new architectural and political ideas, and they were extremely influential within Russian architectural history.

The exhibition will include work by architects, including Konstantin Melnikov, Ivan Zholtovsky, Alexey Viktorovich Shchusev, Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Oltarzhevsky, Ivan Vladislavovich Zholtovsky, Fyodor Osipovich Schechtel, Vladimir Schuko, Panteleimon Golosov, Ilya Golosov and Moisei Yakovlevich Ginzburg. Also represented will be the artists and sculptors who were involved in the decoration of temporary structures, including Aleksandra Ekster, Alexander Kuprin, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Aristarkh Lentulov, Ignaty Nivinsky, Sergei Konenkov, Ivan Shadr and Vera Mukhina.

Gorky Park History
The park is located on the Moskva River bank in the Neskuchny Sad territory in the heart of Moscow. The very first structure to be built on the site was the 8,500 square meter hexagonal pavilion to celebrate the All-Union Agricultural and Handicraft Exhibition of 1923. The structure later became a pre-war exhibition space for Soviet artists and sculptors. Garage plans to occupy this site in the future as part of its developments within the park.

The more formal park was further developed during the Stalin era and officially opened in 1928. Later, the park was extended further and now stretches over 300 acres, making it one of the largest parks in Europe. The park was named after Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), a Soviet author and political activist who founded the socialist literary method.

Architects including Konstantin Melnikov, El Lissitzky, Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg and Alexander Vlasov were involved in the master-planning and development of the park.

In 1935, the sculptor Ivan Shadr created Girl with a Paddle to sit in pride of place in one of the major fountains. It soon became a symbol of the park.

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