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When a child I had a special interest to automobiles.
They often seemed to me live creatures,
sometimes kind-hearted or indifferent, sometimes evil.
Passing by a car I was impressed with its huge wheels,
plenty of all kinds of tubes, polished knobs, hatches,
and it seemed that someone lived behind them.
It felt obvious that everything in it is exactly
in its place and in some proper order,
of and serving some general goal.
All that luxury was breathing with heat and pulsating.
Every car seemed a whole animated world.
How does a little boy see a car?
He does not understand how it’s working but
is deeply impressed with its complexity.
Some vague images appear in his mind,
details that are above his knowledge
are understood according to his childish experience.
Here are some of my early impressions,
stuck in my memory and transformed
into subjects of my paintings:
In summer I used to live at my grandmother’s
by a big industrial railway station.
A huge blue locomotive impressed me greatly –
it was as high as a two-storey building,
with small windows above and vibrating
radiator sides, which I felt to hide enormous strength,
and with a small steps leading to some
It slowly approached a low platform,
blocking all paths that crossed the rails
and suppressing everything
around with its heating mass.
Several men came down from above,
and I managed to read
the name of a faraway city somewhere
in Siberia or Central Asia in coach window.
It took almost a day and night to come
to my grandmother on a train from Moscow,
so it was easy to imagine that train
rushing day by day through vast fields
and woods and whistling.
Industrial trains with endless wagons,
each having light metal ladder leading
up high, with narrow iron pathways
and small rooms occupied my fantasies.
I dreamt of a romantic journey with winds blowing
in my ears, trips through many coaches
and cozy sitting in the warmth
of a locomotive cabin when it would be raining.
A similar memory comes to my mind –
when I went for fishing with my father,
his friend and his friend’s son.
We dismantled the back seat of the car,
and we two – another boy and me –
have made a real den instead
in the back half of the car.
It was autumn, and it was raining,
and we sat in that warm place
and looked at passing towns and villages.
Sometimes father went out to ask
about the way, and the cold and wetness
coming from outside made me fear
that we would arrive soon
and that blessed state of driving
nonchalance would end.
I wanted to drive forever, looking endlessly
at the kaleidoscope of brief passing scenes–
here’s a girl coming out of a gave with a bicycle
and a big metal flask on it, there a woman
is leading her cow home.
Once we waited for fifteen minutes at a railway
station for a train to pass by.
And once again a huge machine is rushing away
at the front of our car, whistling and breathing,
and carrying myriads of people who are looking
at the big world from cozy warm cabins just like us.
In my mind memories are mixing and blending
with each other, some separated
by years but very similar in feelings.
Even the colours in my memories
are not ordinary, more like gleaming
and contrasty colours after the rain.
In my paintings, I sometimes mix
things that cannot be put together,
and it helps me to translate
visual images into memories.
(Note by translator – what Alexey says reminded me of my favourite short stories by Dylan Thomas. Seems they tell about very similar things in different languages)
Sometimes I paint more or less realistic cars,
like #14. I wanted to depict a man from
that romantic era when auto races were
in the centre of public interest,
and the racers were as famous
as astronauts later on.
And at the same time it’s an attempt to reconstruct
that naïve childish view on subjects that
are above his understanding.
I remember how I walked with my grandma
near fire station.
It seemed that there were ordinary astronauts
in heavy helmets working aside gleaming red trucks
with long ladders pulling out and whole mountains of hoses.
The scale of impressions was far beyond
my ability to apprehend.
I think that these memories are
about almost complete happiness,
about harmony with almost unexplored
and magical world.
What else may I say of myself and my paintings:
I use quite rare technique, lines (drawings)
on my paintings are made
of thick threads glued to canvas.
Afterwards I paint with oil and palette-knife over it.