When I started I wanted to find a subject that would be relevant to me at that particular time, relevant to the place and to the people at that place. Everything happening in my life at that period has made an impact on this work. My meetings with old friends, our conversations, our memories of the past and my impressions from the surroundings.
It was a cold spring with a lot of rain and wind, but the spring was marching in celebrating it´s definite victory over that long and cold winter. All growth was about to explode, flowers started blooming everywhere, the grass was turning green and the trees were pushing out their buds and flowers, the nature was coming to life again after all.
I stayed in the new building in a lovely room with a view towards the forest instead of curtains. I woke up, when the first sunlight appeared in the sky. The forest was a part of my room, and it was both magnificent and magnifying. I could not ignore it, it has been demanding attention.
Another factor was that we were like prisoners in our rooms out there. We could not get anywhere without a car. Walking along the drive way was neither fun nor secure. There were no walking paths around. That is how and why I decided to make one.
In America no one walks anymore, they have wheels instead of legs there! One cannot live without a car. I decided that I have to make a path in the forest, so that they could start walking. Probably a surrealistic idea, but at least this was the right time to try to make a path in the woods. The ground was wet and soft, I could clean it and remove the roots before they got strong and thick. This was the right moment for planting flowers and bulbs, even though I would not be there to see them bloom. I found a particular flower that I wanted to put out along my path, it was both the color and the name of it that I liked. It was not belonging naturally to this area, neither did I. It would be feeling good in the shadows, and the name of it was forget-me-not! I do not know if anyone will take care of my path later on or if it will overgrow within a very short time, as the forest here is powerful and the trees are tall and strong. It looks like jungle here with all the undergrowth and the lianas. But that will be a part of the idea. This project will last just as long as it will be allowed to last. Just like we do not have any control over our life and death, I have no control over my path.
If I had the money, I would have placed a red carpet on my path to make people walk on it. I think that is just about what is needed to make people step out into the forest here.
During my presentation of the idea for the fellow residents the residency director was laughing at me commenting that my path leads straight to the cemetery behind these woods. My path does not lead directly to the cemetery, but one can see the cemetery, while walking on this path. I think that is how it is in life too. Every now and then we are reminded about death. Death is a part of life, it is a final part and a final destination of our paths in life.
Another comment was how and why do I do this, when my back is so bad that I can hardly move. I told them that my son has been asking that question since he was a child. He had to help me with all my heavy grand ideas, and he hoped I should start making miniatures one day. That could be so much better, cheaper and easier! But my projects just kept growing bigger and grander. I will not allow my body to stop my mind!
Talking to some of my Russian friends I came to mention a poem by our grand poet Pushkin about his heritage: " I have made a monument to myself that is not made by hand..." (in my free translation). Suddenly I realized that in all my modesty and humbleness I am talking about leaving a path behind me here!
There has happened something rather unpleasant in the run of the work. When I started mounting the signs and the pictures on the trees, I had to use nails. I was trying to express my love to that forest, but at the same time I was hurting it. The trees were crying, their tears running all over their bodies. Maybe it is normal too? Love always hurts.
There is only one thing I am sure of: I need to do this! As I have always told my students, if people can stop making art, they should. I am the one fortunate enough not to be able to live without doing it as good as I can and as long as I live.
Only the time will show if my path will grow over completely or it will leave a mark on the surface of this earth.