Nikita Alexeev

Nikita Alexeev was born in 1953 in Moscow. Lives and works in Moscow.

In April 1976 I was in Crimea with friends: it was a happy
opportunity to escape from grey and cold Moscow where snow was still
melting, to the South, to the sea, to watch almond trees blooming.

One of those days, we were at the bay. Water being too cold to bath,
all of us were doing something or nothing. One was reading a book.
Another was melancholically building towers with pebbles. I’ve been in
the process of looking at clouds slowly flying across the sky.

In a time clouds were a bore for me. They were beautiful, but how
long can one observe this amorphous, silent beautitude without being
annoyed, especially when you are young?

So I went down to the shore where waves were giving their last
effervescent bulbs to pebbles and sand. And I’ve found a piece of wood
brought by the sea – the silvery thing covered with salt crystals.
I don’t think I was thinking about art at the moment. And I don’t
know why had I an idea to ask my chap George Kiesewalter (a Russian
of German descent) to pick up his Zenith camera and to make photos
of me flagellating the sea.

Later, our art historians and art critics came to a conclusion that
this act made out of happy boredom is a very important art piece of
early Moscow conceptualism. Perhaps it is, maybe it’s not. In any case
it’s not my business: my occupation is cloudwatching and, later on,
producing things, which I consider as something close to art.
But moreover, some of those who are writing about art in Russia
came to a strong conclusion that I necessarily had in my mind, when
swaying the sea, the famous flagellation of the Dardanelles performed
by Xerxes.

Yes, since school I had a vague knowledge about this crazy ritual
comedy. But these April days in Sudak, Crimea, had nothing to do
with it. Or at least, I think so.

But now, so many years gone by, what should I do in the Dardanelles if
not giving strokes at water exactly at the same spot were Xerxes was
once acting?

And nevertheless, I presume that this re-dramatization is rather closer
to clouds, sea, sky and one’s life than to Achaemenides, Athens and