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TOTART: Natalia Abalakova & Anatoly Zhigalov


In May, 1981, at the initiative of A.Zhigalov, a group of Moscow actionists ("KD", "Toadstools", "TAA" and others) went to the village of Pogorelovo in the Kostroma region to make The First Performance Festival ("Operation HOUSE", see MANI 3). A.Z. had to make 2 performances the last in the "Black series".


22 steps of the front staircase are covered with black fireproof paper. On the upper steps is a sheet of glass standing perpendicular to the plane of the front staircase, tied by a rope. The other sheet of glass also stands perpendicular to the plane of the front staircase. There is a lighted candle under the upper glass and a candle end in the centre of a heap of straw under the lower one. Naked A.Z. lies down between straw and the first step and rolls up onto the first floor. At that moment a heap of straw is seized by fire. Wrapped in the end of black paper A.Z. rolls downstairs, breaking the lower glass and smothering the fire with his body; the upper glass falls and extinguishes the candle.


In a field a cabin is built with poles covered with newspapers and black fireproof paper. Naked A.Z. and an assistant enter the cabin. The assistant bandages A.Z., fastens the end of bandage, pours liquid plaster on his body and then leaves the cabin. A.Z. sets the cabin on fire and leaves it, unwinding the bandage as he moves to the wood.


Meanwhile reality came to be more cruel than art concepts could be. Life once more triumphed over Art. Just before our team arrived a friend of mine, an old man by the nickname Lalay (Nickolay Lalaev) had been burnt to ashes in his own cottage. The tragedy was so close in details to my performances, not to mention that I had had to take from him the needed poles and newspapers, that the very idea of realizing these performances was out of question. Instead I spoke a funeral speech, showed my friends the site of fire, and made live sculpture works - "Dedication to Lalay".


Actions, performances. Installations


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