(1999, from a book of stories written for my academy graduation project; spelling & punctuation unchanged)
This photo was made at one of my birthday parties, around six o’clock in the morning when it was getting lighter already, more than twelve hours after it had started. All the “survivors” were getting an attack of night-hunger and all the food has been eaten already, so we had to dig out potatoes with only an oil-lamp for a light source, and bake them on a campfire.
The parties usually go on for two days at least, without any pauses. With quite a large number of people present (sometimes it gets to forty guests that I have) and enough sleeping places everybody chooses their own time for sleeping and staying up. When the late ones are planning to go to bed, the early ones are already getting up and starting to fix breakfast.
I treat my birthdays seriously, like ones of the most important events of the year and an excellent excuse* to get all my friends together and introduce the new ones. Even friends who moved away to other places keep coming, the same as I am always arranging to be there in Russia for that day especially.
I prepare food and drinks, and all the rest is happening by itself. My friends can take care of themselves very well and the summer-house (where my birthdays usually take place) offers all kinds of natural entertainment like swimming, making campfire or stealing apples from other people’s gardens (just for the fun of it). Sun, drinks and good company keep everybody satisfied.
I am the last one to go to sleep, and when I wake up – there they are again, trying to get rid of hangover, preparing dinner and dancing around with carrots in their hands.
*Russians, they always need an excuse for a party; there must be something to celebrate – the idea of drinking without a purpose is too humiliating, because of the danger of alcoholism. Excuses like that are also necessary to keep up the festive spirit, and there is never a problem to invent a course for celebration.
Made a ‘van Kessel‘ for my mother (I painted it once, badly, when I was 12);
while printing found my own reflection in almost every berry.
This Jan van Kessel (there are 3 other painters with the same name) lived in Antwerp and is the grandson of Jan Brueghel the Elder (the ‘Velvet’ Brueghel) whose house I look down at from my balcony.
my photo was made 4 years before I came across this Rodchenko selfportrait.