Art is not a crime

October 2, 2012

I live in a small apartment in the suburbs of Berlin. It’s very safe and comfortable. Berlin is a very green place but it’s even greener here, and you can smell pines at night. However, I don’t smell the pines but my shining clean neighbors leaving for work early in the morning. In the evening you can often see foxes, hares and even wild boars.

Some people think that Zehlendorf (the place I live in) is not even Berlin. Maybe they’re right: there aren’t any fashionable cafes, galleries or shops, but we have the best schools here, what has once become the major factor for me.

It takes me 20 minutes to get to the city centre by car or 30 – to get there by public transportation. You can not lock the car here but find it where you’ve left it or go shopping for buns wearing pajamas. Unfortunately I don’t eat buns.

This is my third apartmentin Berlin. I’ve lived here for more than 12 years. And I/m sure it/s not the last one. Although I like it a lot, I’d like a place with a big studio.

I collect black things, scarves and shoes, and nobody collects toys: they’re all for playing. Some of them were made by me. It’s been a good period as and it’s a pleasure – to hand make something.

When I was leaving the former Soviet Union I couldn’t take any book with me. And in Kiev I used to have a nice library. I’ve presented my relatives with most of the books, so here I don’t have many of them. But if A. wants to read classical Russian literature, he will have it on the shelves.

We have a TV-set and sometimes I watch it. A. and I like to watch the Simpsons on Tuesdays. And good movies are mostly shown rather late, so I often listen to the movie instead of watching. At night it doesn’t seem to be a bad idea to listen to one while working.

We used to have pets, but had to eat them up in our hour of need. Now we don’t start keeping anything.

I used to collect Russian dolls from Japan, the fist one I just found in the street. Then all my near and dear gave me more dolls every year, and most of them are kept in the box now. I don’t collect anything I can’t use now.

Those great tins came from Paris. They keep Berlin air.

My working place is simply organized: here is a chair, a table, bookshelves, an armchair and a bed. Every time I think over a project I need to lie on it and draw a picture in my mind first.

When I draw large pictures I rent a studio. I can’t work next to anyone. My inner misanthrope doesn’t like chatting and smiling every morning. And I often feel cold, so I wear a hat and get a plaid on my knees. That’s what I look like when I’m working. 

It’s not that clear here when I work. There are many layers of sketches and books, cups, ashtrays and other first-necessity things. But when I am not busy with any project I clear everything up. I like boxes where I keep plenty of things. But it’s very difficult to find an important document there.

There are also many corks in the vessel. A glass of good wine in a good company in the evening is sometimes better than a cup of tea or the clearest water.

The Face Cookie is an exhibit. It has marzipan filling and an edible picture on the top. It’s a parallel with illegal so called Space Cookies that are sold in faraway fashionable districts by gloomy characters who bake them in their tiny kitchens. Try them, they’re great!