Родился в Республике Беларусь, в Минске. Искусству перевода обучался Санкт-Петербурге, но с иностранными языками связал свою жизнь еще раньше. Мне доставляет удовольствие сам процесс передачи смыслов и оттенков слов с одного языка на другой. И ничто так не радует, как удовлетворение от отлично сделанной работы. Перевод это заведомо проигранная оригиналу битва, но наша работа проиграть с наименьшим отставанием по очкам.
ELEPHANT, or biannual exhibition of national idiocy
The elephant was enormous. Insane. Grey.
Its croup occupied two floors of an eclectic building in the center of the city and its legs were nothing short of two vertical pillars. It’s not hard to guess which thoughts crossed one’s mind upon the entrance. But no. Everything was exactly the other way round; extremities were the front ones. The lobby was a cavernous hose-like room that trailed up to the second floor and everyone who entered had a feeling of being sucked in; as if it was a trunk.
A painted face clown-suited checker lady with a nose of fabric takes the ticket and a visitor finds himself somewhere across between a chapiteau and a joint where cheapness is compensated by quantity in full. Here and there one could hear laudations, gasps of admiration and a bit muddled – because of consumed from plastic cups “Ararat” brandy (which for some reason was called cognac in the menu) – sobs-pseudo-delights or something.
But it enthralled. Attracted. Sucked in.
On the walls hanged oddish spits of Dadaism with tags underneath: “The Elephant. Act 1. A Dream”, “The Elephant. Act 2. Elephant’s Dream 2”. Thirteen elephants that way. In so doing this Dada art every now and again has left an observer with a strange feeling of something secondary; a picture of autumn resort where sands were fairly rested and sunbathed on, where every amber grain was picked up. This is what was left for sea water and autumn rains to perish. These “masterpieces” could have been easily dubbed the other way “Installation of a duck hunter’s dream reloading a shotgun while asleep. Act 2. Cartridge in cartridge-chamber” or something like “The awakening of raped Europa”. And then it doesn’t matter whether it’s “installation” or “act”, as elephants, hunters and Europas could be seen only by a neglected schizoid exemplar that purposively advanced towards full scale schizophrenia. There was nothing on those pictures, no trunk, and no duck’s beaks in hunter’s dreams, and especially no Europa raped by Dadaists. But there was another feeling, it glimmered, suggested itself, and was repelled, but again and again it soaked into brains and screamed with its every stroke – Sucked in. Per act.
The second floor was more intricate. The first room was made as some kind of heart, at least the plate above the entrance proclaimed “Heart” (apparently it was there in order to cast away any doubts that the place was heart exactly, not duodenum or appendix), and the observer appeared to be in a room divided into four sections; according to the concept of those who installed this four-chamberness should have symbolized ventricles and auricles. On top – under the ceiling – went glowing tubes and pipes – veins and aortas. Something crimson-like bubbled inside. In corners abode wax effigies of naked classics. Skint bum Dostoevsky with an axe in his hand seemed not lonely but some sort of wild-like, as if he refused to understand what was going on with full willingness to slaughter all exhibition organizers at once. Pushkin had a gun on his laps and a bast basket in hands. The poet ate cloudberries. Doubled up Tolstoy was lying on rails, and half turned over Gogol in a coffin. Slides moved on one of the walls – a compilation of Tarkovsy and Fellini masterpieces. If an observer had enough patience (and that was a rare event) he could understand a subtle conception of underground entertainers. It has emerged that Stalker sails on a ship waves around him, but waves are nothing else but planet Solaris, which appears to be an inner projection of Stalker on himself who inly imagines being an ocean liner with a mystery unknown to him. Credits in the end read – “Flying Dutchman” on Russian. Art&Imagination. “ELEPHANT” group. And a neat phallic symbol.
After the credits something started to tinkle in head as if the ship rocked. The wish was to sink. And not to be saved.
But room again. This time it was “Liver”.
Torn books. Smashed bottles. Corks. Butts. Photos of Sergei Dovlatov and Venedict Yerofeyev on the walls. Press cuttings. Syringes. Marilyn Monroe poster. She is indecent but doable. Elvis shaking his guitar as a pubertal shaver shakes his credentials. Nirvana in the hazy end of the room.
And dramatically appears “Stomach” – a grim room with accent lights under expositions. Dali and Malevich reproductions. Everything in stains. Picasso and Chagall. In feces. And the Itinerants – all of a sudden. Daubed. Hardly noticeable under buckets of splashed paint. Dollars, stars and swastikas painted on the walls.
“Buttocks” – photo sessions. Cutting – president coupling with mayor, Siamese twins with heads of oligarchs. Their life together is impossible, as it’s impossible not to live. Deputies digging in a sandbox – curly with a shovel, ginger with a bucket… And someone dark-haired – sad, offended, chose wrong determination. Near destroyed sand houses in resin stains. Features blurred. As if he lacks sunlight. From the window of high-rise Kremlin-like home looks an oriental short haired lady in glasses. Shout “Children! Back home! Cartoons!” Photo “The Motherland calls!”
So on and so forth.
Once in “Tail” the observer flows not even into secondary state of figurative images, but into their tertiarity. Several squiggles that hardly resemble nails. 5×5 meter painting – “Calvary”. Porcelain headless bust “Authority” and one or two naked mannequins – “Androids”.
And finally in the end as a self mockery of “installers” – “Sphincter”. The visitor gets down and thinks about Judas-apprentices who betrayed their Masters. Their photos there. They – “Geniuses”! Smerdin, Lushchenko, O, Nihilev. Attention is focused on “O”. “O” didn’t graduate from any university. But he had someone from Korea in biography. Supposedly that is “symbolic”. But he is a fitter. Smerdin graduated but during the time of persecution was not acknowledged. Nihilev was acknowledged long ago and did without persecution. Lushchenko – mother of two children who likes her cat de Sade very much.
And that is all. Though one could continue infinitely.
The observer toils down the stairs and understands that he was not sucked in, but…
But this is a theme for biannual exhibition of national idiocy…