The former recreation centre “Gold Coast”, built on Fedotov tongue of land in 1960, has been welcoming the Biruchiy contemporary art project for more than ten years already. Despite active development of the territory in recent years, the signs of the artists’ presence here are strongly intertwined with the environment. Now and then you can see installations, sculptures or paintings in simple common places. Any surface can be a canvas for the artists, and many artefacts of the past become reinterpreted. One of the infrastructure elements is a former gym, which, in the absence of demand, was turned into a warehouse. However, the building served not only as a temporary storage place of construction materials, but also as an art workshop. The biggest works were assembled, drilled and welded here. So it was decided to give away half of the former gym area to a new exhibition space.
The building represents a rectangular hall with right proportions, enclosed by a rhythmic colonnade, which supports a pitched roof. The entire parameters are totally in keeping with the ideas of ancient architects. In other words, it is a true Greek temple embodied by a Soviet architect for a new function, featuring a cost-effective use of contemporary materials. As the building had a value in itself – some walls were painted by the artists, and any object could turn out to be an important witness of their stay – it was decided to approach it with the care of archaeologists.
All new structures have minimum interaction with the building, creating a parallel reality. The visitors are invited to wander through the labyrinth of the exhibition, being rewarded by discoveries. Having entered the room, visitors can see a white surface containing nothing but the exhibition title and the curator’s statement. Then the visitor discovers narrow passages that run along the walls, passing through which one can access the next area. In the heart of the exhibition space there is a hall with the highest walls, where one can find seclusion face to face with one of the central installations or pay proper attention to the video. Traditional white walls reproduce a “cella” – the inner part of religious buildings, especially churches, where the images of gods and the inner sanctuary were located, which could be entered only by the clergy of a specific rank.
The project aims to invoke the forgotten identity of the building transforming it into a temple of art.