Wednesday, 30 September

Coat of arms on the shovel

I even went to the forest several times to look at that thing. There, on the high, ancient and spreading oak the figure of a man was hanging by the feet, head down. Under the oak immense crest was lying, crossing out the lawn. Note: the only thing it resembled was crest. The paint was erased in the place where this figure, falling, might have knocked it with the head as though someone has been falling and smashing it for years. Nearby the bushes I found a nameplate. “Simply falling” – was written on it.

That’s how I felt in Luxemburg. Simply fell head down, hanging in bewilderment.

Although some time has passed, I can’t get used to unexpected tricks there. Going further then, no conclusions, just pictures – let them tell you whatever they want. By the way, there is one more in the bushes. I reach a dead end – what is the purpose of this? Sculpture. Immense metal elk (or roebuck) is having sex with another animal. I won’t tell you exactly what animal because you need to come up and scrutinize but it feels somewhat embarrassing. They are doing it not as animals but as people: in traditional for people conservative pose, making out. The sculpture is absolutely tranquil, not brutal, just very natural. Kicked up legs of the “down”  animal make you turn away and pass it by, confused and appalled that caught them. Meanwhile, there are well-trodden paths from both sides: someone goes there to examine. Maybe some squirrels or hares… Maybe some people with their eternal longing to peep.

I chanced to appear in the place nearby the bushes where The Kiss of Wim Delvoye had been hidden. Fifth in the world by abhorrence rating sculpture.Native city of this Belgium artist-provocateur rejected flatly his gift on their streets, but the Luxemburgers expressed their broad-mindedness. Broad to the extent of obscuring the masterpiece in the dense bushes.

Before, I had interpreted the interest for daily and trivial as a pretty trait that allows to love and justify a person in all her manifestations. Kind Lord might have sent me Wim Delvoye to berate me for being revolted and to remind me that His creations cannot be pedestrian. I must have thought thoroughly before jumping to the conclusions.

OK.I’m dissecting.Wim Delvoye. As for me (before) – a barmy man. Why is he carving openwork bulldozers, concrete mixers from redwood, shovels and ironing boards with knight blazons? And that appalling unit – the model of human esophagus? On the one side, it is constantly fed with exquisite dishes, on the other, after all pipes and flasks with real human enzymes, earthborn feces are falling out. And those pigs whom he’s doing tattoos on their obese backs, moistening skin with special salve because “pictures must be pampered and alive till natural death (this is an excuse for animal abuse). Tattooed skin will be taken off post-mortem and sold 50 thousand dollars for piece. One young guy chanced to sell Wim his back for tattooing. The guy was driven mad as, according to his words, his life obtained completely different sense. He has been haloed since he started living among museum inanimate objects and stopped talking to such a trivial living people. The life of exhibit has been changed  – death as well. Once he’s dead, the skin will be taken off and sold. As the pig’s one. In this place I started to realize something. Is Wim Delvoye barmy?

People lead senseless lives – eat and crap. They buy senseless things for asinine money. Senseless can substitute human life… It also can easily provoke abhorrence – the most sophisticated feeling –  and you feel manipulated in this life, but cannot choke disgust and therefore surrender. Senseless brings big money, but someone who once added guy’s back to their collection would have the inkling that the life changed unalterably. Is senseless about art?

Ugh! God, what an amusement you’ve thought up for me in the bushes!

Get out of them and have a walk – the path will lead to a modern building of glass and metal that grows inwards ancient fortress with three heads, called “Three Acorns”. At least everything is clear with it.Ideally preserved fortress was given delicate upgrade that helps it to look like a bustling space, not as a ragged scarecrow. Next to the place where Antique cannons, wooden chair and a table have been long time ago, a green cube is gleaming which stands for the lamp. Moreover, there is a wooden chaise-longue. If you’re tired of sitting, go and lie down.You can get inside through underground way – that’s why you must come in the museum.

This is Mudam, the pier of modern art. There is everything upside-down in the spirit of contemporary art. There’s no one except from the freak who is spreading in the lounge-zone and two nymphs with wine glasses. Huge guard is standing at the entrance, smiling sweat heartedly as though he has been waiting for the visitors from Mars. He’s taking off tenderly my umbrella because it is not allowed inside.

I would retell this story on the spot if you asked me – Well, how is Luxemburg?

Basically, everything was felt there as if you fell out of an oak.

There are three dimensions in this place. Sometimes it is direly high – you’re staying on the top under the sky. Enormous plane is merely sailing by you, bypassing attentively ancient spire on the palace, built on this apex. Sometimes it is dizzily deep: when staring downwards, you get frightened of the abyss. Small insects are strolling at the bottom.They are people, the Luxembourgers. And all this abyss is piled up with vigorous greenery. It seems like God carried all his planting stock, crammed into the earth’s craters, poured with river Alzette and went on creating, leaving these grain. The roots held tight by the ground and rushed from the valley to sky. People were created from countless insects and crows – they still exist at the bottom and on the tops.

They speak in three languages, in the pockets they have the biggest percent of mobiles in the world, nearly everyone has a car – and there’s no bumps on the tight Medieval streets… They bake Eden cakes with apples, have currant wine, Ardennes ham, serve smoked pork neck with horse beans to the table, roast hare and boar, pike and plunger, eat liver meatballs with sauerkraut, consider their chocolate better than Belgium and have warm brown bread stuck with different seeds and grains for breakfast.

What about local beer, its glory is fixed forever. The name of the street in Luxembourg, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is translated as “Moselle beer is brewed here”.

By the way, this is the last Duchy in the world. That’s why a whole heap  is in UNESCO’s Heritage List. Anyway, everything is a heritage here: 21 km of underground routes and “Three Acorns”, and all pavements, palaces and buildings. I would add to this list local commercial agility – the Duchy has the biggest amount of banks in the world. It, the richest country, is deep in debt to its neighbors. The third of the country is planted with wild forests. Someone would have already cut them down, but they wouldn’t.

What about people… I was met at the hotel by curly and slightly bold Angel, dark skinned Caesar and delicate Valandria with the eyes of Cleopatra. “What’s going on with your names?” – I asked. They smiled at me and said that they had been lucky with their parents. They started arranging me for lodging. Everything was as everywhere in Europe. But I knew that it wasn’t. When I asked Valandria how to walk to the old city, she seemed to expect it. She answered: well, follow this path above the wall, turn three times, go through underground way and then you see something like tunnel. Then everyone turned and said that it was closed. But it wasn’t! I say – it isn’t! You’ll see! Don’t be back! You will get to the Medieval city through it.

Of course, there wasn’t any passovers… I made all these turns, passed helical narrow stairs through some kind of tower. Then the path ran a dead end. There was a tunnel aside forever barred. Ahead – the fence. If you’d climbed it over, you would appear on the railways, then you had to get into the hole, torn in the metal net…

Why getting back as those who irritated Varandria…

That’s how I appeared in the Medieval city…

I had dinner at the Neumünster Abbey, which is a former jail. I’ve seen the shadows of prisoners, who were walking in the circle. They looked up into my plate when it was filled with something new…. And laughed at the musician, who twitched in the dance and pulled the chords of contrabass as if pitching it. Young singer was singing something to the contrabass screeches of pain that resembled the blazon on the ironing board and victoriously manipulated my most complicated feelings…

Olga Gerasimyuk

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