A quick breakfast is not so bad when the food offered cannot really be enjoyed. In this mass consumption place and at this relatively early hour breakfast for me only has the function of not getting hungry too soon. After ‘filling yourself’ quickly (and decently) you do not leave with the feeling that you have missed anything. Anyway, after gathering in the hotel lobby Tatiana, Alexander, Charles and I decided there was enough time not to take a taxi but the metro instead. It would save us a cab and Charles would be able see the beautiful Soviet Ploschad Vostania metro station. (Not in any competition with some of the Moscow stations of course.) The others had seen this station before but they did not mind.
Not to take a taxi turned out to be the wrong decision because the wallet of Charles got stolen when entering the metro train. When we got pushed into the hot and crowded metro I felt someone searching for my wallet too. In my case this is always in vain; I have some money, but no wallet. (Just so you know!) But Charles could not find his wallet anymore afterwards and I think this was the clever work of pickpockets. I’m sure it must have been. Fortunately there was not much money in it and his credit cards could be blocked easily by phone immediately afterwards. Sic transit gloria mundi. ‘Transit’ means passing. And of course money is the glory of the world. Nothing serious happened though; no injuries, no harm. Charles still has his passport and I could give him some of my money as we walked along the Moika together to our meeting in Kempinski.
At this moment of the story I think it would be good to introduce the acting persons in this episode because it gets more seriously now: Dr. Tatiana Goriacheva, research curator of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Prof. dr. Alexander Lisov from the Vitebsk State University, Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum (and several other enterprises) and myself. And I can already reveal some details about the meeting we were going to in Hotel Kempinski. This meeting was organised to start a long-term international project for the research of the work of El Lissitzky. The idea is to establish a foundation and a committee to do that. It needs more preparation and some more meetings like this. In February I was in Novosibirsk to discuss this project and there will be some of these pleasant trips in the future. As I said before: “I am not complaining.”
I will skip further details of the meeting – it will all be all right – but one thing I must say: the coffee and the pastries were very good comparing to the breakfast. And to say something in general on this delicate subject: I think there is going to be a very good Lissitzky research committee.
The opening of the Lissitzky – Kabakov exhibition in the Hermitage is the next story. We were hurrying to get to the press preview afterwards…