Growing up in Moscow I liked to “play secrets.” As an only child I had to occupy myself somehow. The game involved wrappers for chocolates. The better chocolates, the more intricate the wrappers. The best had a picture in the middle (perhaps a tiny replica of some famous Russian masterpiece hanging at Tretyakov Gallery) and the silver lining. After spending hours on folding them, still smelling of chocolate, just right, completed with the silver design of the lining leaf, you had to hunt for another essential element of a “secret.” That would be a piece of glass. The beer bottled ones, amber in color were the most magical. Then you had to bury the folded wrapper with the glass on top in the shallow grave of the playground’s dirt. That was a “secret.”
The magic happened when the young artist, on all fours and with her nose close to the ground, started to push the dirt away with a single finger in a slow circular motion, clearing the tiny window of colored glass….What a transformation! In the first shock of discovery it takes you a while to comprehend what you are actually seeing. Then it sinks in: a mystery of the familiar….And the feeling! Of wonder, of revelation! I think that all my life I am chasing that feeling—the mystery to be discovered. That instantaneous shift of reality, the recognition of magic.
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