Sunday, May 17, 2009

Trip to Nizhniy

New York to Nizhniy Novgorod. Two separate worlds it seems. Very few of the people in New York I told about my trip had ever heard of Nizhniy before. Also I have to admit, I also have to count myself to those uneducated individuals! Only one friend, David, the one who often surprises me with his vast knowledge of strangest oddities, he wondered whether Nizhniy might be the city, where Andrei Rublev had lived. Nizhniy Novgorod, the "new" city, as the name says it, the home town of the medieval artist Andrei Rublev, the one portrayed in the unforgettable epic by Tarkovsky? One of my favorite movies of all times!

It seems just these facts already seem to burst my imagination and make me even more curious and excited!

I have skyped with Olga the organizer of my visit in Nizhniy. She seems like such a lovely girl, always laughing and very positive. In our skype conversation she keeps stressing that she is concerned that I might be disappointed, that I shuld not have too high expectations from the people I will be working with, as thy are no artists! I assure her that that is not a disadvantage, in contrary! I am excited to wrk with people who are not jaded, people who are excited, who want to do something. The only thing I absolutely do need from, something which is essentially vital to participate inthis project is life experience! I don't think that there should be any lack of that! She is very relieved and we leave it at that. The next time she contacts me she is telling me about the woman who will be translating who would love to have some texts to work with to prepare herself. I am very touched that this woman is so enthusiastic that she wants to put work into this project already in advance!

Leaving New York is difficult, as my life there and the coty itself seem to have an increadiby tight grip on me. I am sad and worried that I might not be prepared adequately to meet everyone's needs in Nizhniy. The journey is long! After a 25hour trip in which I had to change airplane in Frankfurt, I arrive extremely exhausted. The passport control seems a very tedious with two officers checking each passport so thoroughly, I wonder if they are counting each pixel of each page singularly! And then, when it is my turn, the main official stares into my eyes for such a long time and so intensely that I get all confused. What is he looking for in my eyes????
(swine flu I later learn!!)

Finally, when I make it through I am being received by the lovely Olga, the local organizer of my
visit. She inspires me with her bubbly charm, that I forget completely how tired I just felt a couple of minutes ago. Together we are being driven to my hotel, an adorable place decorated in the typical lavish stile one would ask from a Russian enterprise and just the way I like it!


  1. Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev is my favorite too. Historians are not sure where Rublev was born. There is simply no evidence. Another famous icon painter Feofan Grek or Theophanes the Greek (teacher of Rublev) worked in Nizhniy in the 14th century.

  2. I can't wait until i find a moment to slip away and go to find some of the wonderful art. I am very, very excited!!!