Borey (Russian for Borealis) is an important place, though you are not likely to feel oppressed by the weight of culture embodied here. For over a quarter of a century, this labyrinthine basement provides an outlet to the city’s underground culture, primarily of the visual-art variety.
Borey comprises not one but at least four galleries combined together. Over the years, I’d seen works by past masters like Alexander Arefiev or Boris Smelov, and by contemporaries including Vladimir Shinkarev or Gavrila Lubnin at Borey. They are all major stars in the non-conformist art world but Borey also allows younger, more experimental artists exhibit their works – sometimes at some of the smaller sub-galleries, like the 10×15 – which exhibits pieces only 10 by 15 centimeters in size, and occupies the entirety of a single wall in a corridor.
In addition to exhibitions, which are always free to enter, Borey includes an art shop, a bookshop with a fine selection of books on art and postcards – some of which can’t be found elsewhere in the city, a cinephile video rental, and an invitation-only cafe catering to the members of the art community. The ceilings may be low here (that can’t be remedied by the recent repairs), but not the level of cultural achievements on display!