Ping pong and polka dots in Gorky Park: Moscow’s Garage gallery opens

Ping pong and polka dots in gorky park: moscow's garage gallery opens
Like a futuristic hangar waiting to receive its airship … Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by Rem Koolhaas.

Dressed in short shorts and tight black polo-shirts, the strapping young members of the Moscow Ping Pong Club swipe balls furiously to and fro, while solemn babushkas push trolleys of steaming pelmeni dumplings between them, their wheels occasionally getting snagged in the plush purple carpet. To one side, a group of students busy themselves screenprinting bold slogans on to T-shirts beneath a makeshift wooden canopy, handing them out to bewildered visitors roaming amid the chaos.

In the middle of Moscow’s Gorky Park, in what used to be a thriving Soviet restaurant and social club, it feels as if the clock has turned back 40 years. The crumbling concrete skeleton of the 1960s Seasons of the Year restaurant, derelict for two decades, has been reborn as Garage, the city’s ambitious new museum of contemporary art. The surreal ballet of ping pong and pelmeni is no communist throwback, but an immersive installation by Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.

“We have a new challenge,” says Dasha Zhukova, the 34-year-old socialite art collector behind the project. She founded the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in 2008, initially housed in a 1920s bus garage in an industrial neighbourhood, designed by radical constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov. “Before, people sought us out, but now we’re in the middle of the park people come in who don’t like contemporary art – or [who] don’t even know what it is.”

Wrapped in a new polycarbonate skin, the former restaurant now stands as a shimmering shed, a silvery apparition floating among the jumble of fairground rides and derelict pavilions, relics of the 1923 Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition held five years before the current park was first established. Like a futuristic hangar waiting to receive its airship, two vast portals have been sliced into either side of the 100 metre-long slab and jacked up into the air, a welcoming gesture signalling that the cargo hatch of culture is open for business. []

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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