Sunday, 4 October 2009

More art and stuff

More exhibitions today - this time off to the Baibakov Art Project at the Red October Chocolate Factory (nearest metro Kropotkinskaya/кропоткинская) to see Luc Tuymans (Against the Day) and Olga Chernysheva (Present Past). Brilliant pair of well curated shows and fabulous work. Here the owner is an oligarch's daughter - only in her early 20s - but clearly a talent to watch.

Also a lot of other work on show throughout the string of buildings because the ex-factory is currently a major place for artists studios, galleries and impromptu shows. This is a relatively good, although potentially temporary, outcome following campaigns against the move of chocolate production to another site. Every one is worried that the location on the island right by the newly rebuilt Christ the Saviour cathedral makes it vulnerable to yet more commercial development.

Me, what I miss is the open-air swimming pool previously on the cathedral site which I remember from a visit 30 years ago. It was a massive lido, with sleek, high diving boards and water steaming in the freezing air; which was entered by swimming out from inside the changing rooms. This, in turn, was the result of a hole made for a planned Palace of the Soviets (never built and seeing the competition entries we should all be relieved) - a hole created by the destruction of the previous cathedral by Stalin in 1931.

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