The Great Pilgrimage

1989, Oil on Canvas, Size: 55 x 51

There was once a magnificent forest in Moscow called Bitsa, but as the city grew, the forest sadly reduced to a modest park. In 1985, several artists began to coordinate exhibitions in this park, which was naturally forbidden by the government. Before long, these exhibitions became an open art market, which attracted a diverse and curious public. For the most part, this art market was overlooked by local authorities. From time to time, however, they would induce raids, throw artists into prison, and destroy everything in sight. Cynically, I took a carton and wrote, “If you do not want to be sorry later, purchase art now,” in big bold letters. A crowd gathered around quickly and many pictures were taken before I was swiftly arrested. The country was preparing for the Great Pilgrimage which ended like many other similar journeys – with nothing. To this day, I have never seen those photos; I wonder if they’ll ever resurface.