Eisenstein’s study and virtual reality: What VDNKh pavilions look like now

01 March 2018

Virtual reality areas in an art-deco building and cinema equipment in a Stalinist Empire style pavilion – history and the modern age intertwine in the refurbished VDNKh pavilions. They welcome visitors with their renovated facades and new exhibitions.

Seven themed areas, over 10 new museums, a landscape park, dozens of workshops, a gastronomical complex, an education centre, an amusement park with the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe at 140 metres high and, certainly, the refurbished pavilions. The Exhibition of Economic Achievements will have all this after a large-scale renovation, which is in full swing now. The moldings have been recreated in the Space pavilion and the last missing unit has been delivered to the model of the Mir orbital station, the spire, star and statues have been renovated on the Farming pavilion and a Cinema Museum has opened in the former Water Industry pavilion.

Eisenstein’s study and cinema equipment

Pavilion 36, built in 1954 for a water industry exhibition, now boasts three cinema halls, areas for permanent displays and themed exhibitions, auditoriums for lectures on the history and theory of film-making, Sergei Eisenstein’s memorial study and a café.

In the past, the shore of the picturesque pond accommodated drill rigs and accessories, mineshaft digging machines and hydraulic rams. Now the Cinema Museum has moved in with costumes, posters, paintings, drawings, films, cinema equipment, photographs, furniture, model layouts, books, manuscripts, documents and puppets. The interactive capsules will help everyone feel like a film director, cameraman, actor or painter and create their own masterpiece.

Reading room and book shop

Over 60 years ago, the Books pavilion opened as a book shop.  Now the building belongs to the Rosizo State Museum and Exhibition Centre and still houses a book shop but also a reading room, an auditorium and a café. This pavilion is a subtle reminder of an old library at a nobleman’s house with its bookcases, elegant banisters and chandeliers. The beautiful wooden counters are in the same place.

The gable is decorated with moldings in the shape of a book enlaced by oak twigs and the frieze with medallions depicting student and academic paraphernalia, such as compasses, a graduated arc, a globe and a microscope. These portico, gable and snow-white columns are a tribute to Classical Antiquity, which was typical of post-war architecture.

From VR to the honey lab

The Beekeeping pavilion with its large windows and stucco rosettes enjoys world fame. The notorious exhibition of Moscow avant-garde artists took place there in 1975. The exhibition was organised with the approval and under the patronage of Yuri Andropov but received many unfavourable comments in the Soviet press. Now works by its participants – Pyotr Belenok, Nikolai Vechtomov, Vladimir Nemukhin, Dmitri Plavinsky and others – are on display at many Russian and foreign museums.

As for the renovated pavilion, it houses modern multimedia installations, virtual exhibitions and a honey museum. One of the rooms displays a bee-hive with bees. Visitors can watch bee family life from behind glass. A one-metre-long mechanical model of a bee, which stirs and buzzes, helps guests understand how the insect moves, and a documentary film and an animated cartoon give interesting facts about these insects.

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