When the City of Moscow gave me this commission, on a very tight deadline, it required me to think on my feet. Sketching ornaments for tree trunks in my notebook, I decided it would be more interesting to use luminous words - rather than simple motifs that would be decorative but without any particular meaning.
At its heart, Bauman Park has a very dense area of trees – the ideal place to nurture a small forest of linked words in a mixture of Russian, French and English. First, I sowed a few words of love in a corner of the park where lovers meet. In another place, the trees wished “good luck” to the players as they made their way to the chess club... The words were upbeat, pleasing, the kind of words you would like to have someone say to you, or that you’d like to whisper softly to someone else. In addition, visitors could use the words to send a message to a friend by taking a picture of themselves with the appropriate word. I complemented this with lights sparkling in the branches to connect the top with the bottom, illuminating the tree trunks and creating a twinkly, starry sky above.
This project had a very personal connection for me: I believe that ideas look for roots to anchor themselves, and these roots are the private stories that form the psychology of the artist. It doesn't matter what those stories are; what matters is how a creation touches each person, and how they feel about it. The language of the soul does not need words…It isn’t always possible to pinpoint the origins of a specific idea but I do know that this one is derived from my mother tongue. Although my mother and I were born in Paris, my mother tongue was Russian. When I went to school, I forgot every single word. But even so, I still sometimes hear words in Russian in my head that I don't understand. It’s the same with English, which - even though I speak it poorly –reminds me of my grandmother who was born on English soil by sheer chance after a ship from Odessa on which my great-grandfather worked was sold.
When I arrived in the land of my ancestors for the first time, I felt that these words had found their way home; they were like the memories of a long journey…snippets of a lost language. I hope you find these words as captivating as those of a mother to her child.
The light installations that were delivered had too many sockets for the desired distribution of light, so some needed to be removed. As the installers did not have a single screwdriver between them, they were obliged to break the sockets on the ground! As the workforce dwindled, and the night grew later and later, I found myself having to break the sockets myself!
Project “Miracle”, Russian-style, started on 15/11 for 24/12.
The delivery of an unexpected word (you?)