There is an old story called “Princess Turandot”. A lot of princes fell in love with her having thrown a glance onto her portrait. They came to her palace to propose, and in order to get a “yes” from the gorgeous woman, they had to pass a special test. All of them failed and were executed; this tale would better serve as a premise for a horror movie, rather than as a bed time story.
But isn’t it, on the other hand, a glorious instance of art’s omnipotence: the beauty of a painting awakens love in men’s souls, and, enchanted by the magic lines, they try to conquer the proud lady, finding death through their attempts.
Turandot never showed her face to anyone, hiding it behind a white emotionless mask, concealing her body in the folds of her red dress. That is the fate she put on before going out: to stay constant, to barricade herself in the chamber of her own consciousness, appearing to the world as an abundance of lines, as a constellation of colorful spots, placing death between her true self and the aroused audience.
We rehearsed “Turandot” in sunny, far away May of St.Petersburg; horsewomen might not be seen there, and the avenues of my hometown were not necessarily flowery, but to stage “Turandot” was a good thing to do in May, really, I was so fascinated, perplexed, confused and thirsty, as probably never before in my life.
And I thought: isn’t Turandot a true artist? She voluntarily chose to be trapped in a prison of a workshop, drawing self-portraits and sending them by post all over the world, so her art spreads around like a virus and makes young people lose themselves, makes children break free from the houses of their parents to seek the great truth, that look at them from the infected painting.