updated 7 Jun 2012, 12:16
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Zhukova to open 'paper tube' art venue in Moscow park

MOSCOW - Dasha Zhukova, the partner of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, presented plans Thursday to move her Moscow art gallery to a structure built of giant paper tubes in historic Gorky Park.

"I think this is a really beautiful pavilion and it's really exciting for Moscow. There hasn't been anything quite like this built here," Zhukova said at a presentation in the park.

Zhukova, who is also known by her formal Russian name Darya, opened her Garage gallery in Moscow in 2008, hosting lavish shows of international contemporary art.

It had to move out last year, but a new permanent venue in Gorky Park will not be ready until next summer.

"While we are a little bit homeless, we thought a temporary pavilion would be a good solution," Zhukova said.

Opening this autumn, the pavilion will have a six-metre high outer wall of paper tubes, enclosing a shop and cafe and a 800-square-metre steel-walled exhibition hall.

The paper tubes, 60 centimetres in diameter, will be insulated and waterproofed, meaning the heated structure could even be used permanently, said Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.

"This is going to be a temporary structure, but I am hoping to stay longer," he said.

Ban has previously built a paper tube gallery for fashion designer Issey Miyake and also temporary homes for earthquake victims.

The project's budget is still being fixed, Garage director Anton Belov told AFP.

The gallery will stand beside a pond in Moscow's Gorky Park, which has been transformed from a Soviet blue-collar fairground in a huge regeneration project and now hosts foodie events and free yoga classes.

Zhukova opened her Garage gallery after restoring a Constructivist former bus garage and put on major exhibitions including an Ilya and Emilia Kabakov retrospective and sculptures by Britain's Antony Gormley.

It had to move out to make way for a planned Jewish Museum of Tolerance.

In a massive project funded by Abramovich, Zhukova's gallery is due next summer to move into a disused 1960s-era former restaurant in Gorky Park.

Ultimately the gallery plans to occupy an historic pavilion called the Hexagon dating back to the 1920s but the building is currently just a roofless shell sprayed with graffiti.

"We are developing various concepts for the Hexagon, nothing is ready yet," Zhukova said.

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