While organizing a trip to Amsterdam for my old friend Alexander Donskoy who facilitated my first exhibit in Moscow, he unexpectedly asked me how much time I could free up for him. I hesitated, but he persisted and I answered two weeks, not knowing he was going to invite me to Moscow. It was a present for something I had done for him that I would have done for any of my friends. To be precise, I had no real clue what I could have done for him that was important enough to receive such a gift, so at first I refused.
During my previous visit to Moscow Alexander and his crew noticed that I smoked like Brezhnev and drank Vodka like Boris Yeltsin. Also my political ideas where a bit to the left of theirs. It must have been a funny sight, me drinking vodka and chain smoking, while they were all non-smokers and drinking water or Starbucks coffee. I was living up to the worst of Western prejudices against Russians, while they were perfect global citizens.
This must have been at the root of their decision to surprise me at the airport with a traditional Russian ceremony, a Soviet hat and a vintage Чайка Limousine – the kind that Soviet leaders used – waiting for me to escort me to Moscow’s Business Center. It turned out to be the best two weeks I had in a long, long time and of course I did a lot of photography there too and I will be posting a selection of these works soon.