How Malevich painted his
(and Daniil Kharms wrote his Incidences)
I had this dream when I was writing out Kharms' texts for the 'handmade book' I was working on at the time. Evidently, I had got sucked right into the material I was researching.
What happened was this:
I'm walking down Nevsky.
Only around me something's not right: it's grey, there are no cars or buses, the people walking are kind of colourless, and there's no advertising to be seen. "What's going on?" I think, "Am I in the past?"
I turn onto ulitsa Mayakovskaya, and it comes back to me that Kharms lives here! I remember the house ‒ number 11, and now here's the 3rd floor and apartment no. 8. There's a swarm of bells and plates with the surnames of the residents. I ring the bell with the sign ‒ scarcely visible ‒ saying 'Yuvachev: 2 rings'. The door opens and I see an old man with a beard (his father, I suppose), and I ask him, "Forgive me, but is Daniil Ivanich at home...?" Muttering something I can't make out, he recedes down a dark corridor and I follow after him with a sinking heart.
Pointing to one of the doors, the old man disappears and I knock and enter. It's a narrow room with a window overlooking the courtyard. A bed stands by the wall and on it lies Kharms. He looks at me.
But when we emerge onto the street, I reach for my back pocket, where I usually keep my cash, and find in it our 21st-century money, which will not do at all for buying alcohol. On the other hand, I see that Kharms has noticed this strange currency and now believes me. He says:
"Yury, let's call upon an artist friend of mine. Maybe he'll have something to drink."
I don't remember how long it takes us, but eventually we find our way to our destination.We enter the artist's room and I immediately look at the pictures hanging on the wall and think, "Aha, I know this guy!" We are met by a man covered with paint, and I say to him, "Good evening, Kazimir Severaniovich! Have you painted the Black Square yet?" He takes fright and replies, "Not yet. What of it?" "Then get on with it," I say. "And preferably not one copy, but several! Back in the 21st century, you're our most famous Russian artist!"
We drink slowly, talking the while. From time to time, Malevich runs off somewhere ‒ to paint, I suppose. Kharms has lit his pipe. Catching the moment, I ask him: "Well then, Daniil Ivanovich, have you written your wonderful series of short stories, Incidences?" He is surprised and says no. I find several sheets of paper and a pencil, slide them over in front of him, and say: "Well then, write!" And I dictate to Kharms everything he wrote. He sits there, scribing diligently, and can only say repeatedly, "Did I really write all that?" "You did, you did, Daniil Ianovich! Don't worry!" I reply, very pleased with myself. But at this, the most interesting point I wake up. And that is all.