A guerrilla intervention
Christie's Vanity Fair party, London
October 14, 2015
Performed: 1 hour 19 min
With Alex Taylor, David Gigauri, Ilya Senatorov, and Vladimir Ashurkov.
Images: Egor Piskov, Dasha Kravtsova, Anna Shpilko (video).
Special thanks: Giacomo Ravagli, Sasha Markvo, Ivan Yushkov, Kamil Zhurakulov Studio, Andrey Vovchenko.
Giacomo, Anna, Sasha and myself arrive at destination (8 King Street) with a black cab - and see few dozens of arts enthusiasts trying to get inside the Christie's building. To our luck, it's the middle of the VVIP part of the night. There is a quiet courtyard across the street where we decide to drop the so far empty box and set everything up.
We meet the rest of the team, the four carriers (Alex, David, Ilya, and Vladimir). David straight away goes to check the situation. The queue is getting even longer, and the area where guests are queuing is extremely narrow. I get undressed and place myself inside the box.
Giacomo starts tightening the 18 screws and the belts are being prepared.
Alex, David, Vladimir, and Ilya start carrying the box. Sasha and Giacomo lead the procession, and Anna is filming everything from the back with her iPhone.
Sasha screams out loud to the people in the queue: 'Attention! The artist is arriving! Please step back!' The queue is being nice to us, and the box is being delivered to the point where they check the guestlist.
The lady with the guestlist in hands is also nice yet a bit overwhelmed. She's asking Sasha, what's the artist's name and whether it's on the list. Sasha says: Hans Ulrich Obrist he is! Don't you see? The lady says she needs a couple of minutes and disappears. One of the security guards comments that she needed to google the name. The queue is paralyzed. She's back in a bit saying that the face of Hans Ulrich Obrist she found online doesn't match what she can see through the glass. Sasha says: sorry, I mixed the things up. He's in fact Nicholas Serota! You might have heard this name before. - Of course! - the lady says and disappears again. She's back even faster this time: what are you trying to say? You've got the Tate Modern founder inside the box? Or does this artist carry the same name? Sorry, he's not going to make it. He's naked, that's the main problem. There is a dress code for this party, and it doesn't allow you to appear with no clothes on.
Sasha's role is over, she needs to leave. Alex, David, Ilya, and Vladimir remove the belts from the box and run away. The bouncers are trying to tell them to leave the belts where they are. Too late. From this moment onwards I'm alone in the game.
Endless selfies. I can't hear much but at certain point one bouncer is telling another: Remember I told you I used to work in contemporary dance? Yes, I was a dancer! So I know what this is all about, contemporary art. It's an installation. Have you heard the word?
A lady is calling a friend while queuing: you should definitely come! There is sort of a sculpture at the door
Nobody knows but The Foundling has its own symbol. While inside the box I would always have one hand closed in a tight fist while the other would be clinching it by its wrist. I don't stop doing this until the performance is over.
The guards are trying to lift up the box but it's too heavy. Still they have to drag it away from the entrance. In the process there is a lot of cursing and swearing. Once the box is a couple of meters away, they put it on its side against the fence.
Some of the guests find it really funny and try offering me a drink or a cigarette. I don't hear and don't see much as I'm staring at a window of a building across the street.
Some people in the queue feel bad for me and put the box back in its normal position. The guards don't like it, so they are back to remove me to another side of the pavement. Once again they put the box on its side, this time it almost cannot be seen by the queue. This immediately produces a traffic jam in front of the box: drivers and their passengers also start taking pictures.
Basically, all that the departing guests are left with is a view of my rear which perfectly symbolizes the end of the party.
It starts raining.
The performance is over.