During my residence in Civitella I continued the development of the project generally called “Homo Lignum”, which was shown a few times at exhibitions.
This summer I was writing an illustrated diary of the character, created by my imagination. He is a potential schizophrenic; his sickness is displayed in his sexual inclination towards wood. Sadomasochistic ritual, accompanying the outbursts of his perversion, is connected with the image of the wooden man, well known throughout Russian literature as Buratino. Buratino’s story appears to be an appropriation of the famous Italian story about Pinocchio’s adventures by Collodi. On one hand my “hero” is a “small” and unimportant man, who lived all his life in a communal apartment, evacuated to middle Asia during the war; he died in the beginning of 1970’s.
On the other hand, persecuted by the communal relations, the insane, exasperated man is endowed with a delicate imagination and subtle fancy. Disgusting perversion and divine sensitivity combine in him. He deifies wood, and the forest world, he’s concerned with every branch and root, and at the same time, boils with lust. Rude abuse, threats towards his neighbors, poetical descriptions of nature and detailed analysis of his dreams and visions are combined together in his writings.
My plan of the Lignoman’s diary was formed exactly at Civitella. I’ve devised a name for him (Nikolai Ivanovich Borisov), dates and main periods of his life. But the main thing is that I progressed to another level of this project: I’ve done a big series of photographs, depicting fragments of trees, seen with my character’s eyes. And the title for the project appeared. It is called “The secret life of trees”.
The nature of Italy, the arts, the sun and the mountainous landscape of Umbria, brightly contrasting with the dark world where my character lives, helped me to focus my imagination and to look at my creation from another point of view.