Alternative History Fiction
To visual artist Igor FILYKю
There were only a few minutes left before the opening of the exhibition. Konstantin Milavich was smoking one cigarette after another to calm his nerves. This time he decided to exhibit only one painting, although he could have asked for the space for up to five works.
He was famous, his paintings were selling well. His artworks could have occupied a whole wall at the exhibition. There would have been plenty of buyers.
He had no doubts about it, but still decided to show only one painting. His intuition told him to do it that way. Last night he experienced a sudden urge to run to Gorohovaya Street and bring at least two more pictures, but this morning he woke up being sure he was doing the right thing.
In a few more minutes the Union leaders would arrive: talentless artists, but excellent functionaries.
Ivan Fedorovich himself would take a blackened pair of scissors and cut the ribbon with a familiar gesture. The people would gush into the hall.
There were surprisingly many art connoisseurs at the exhibition hall doors. Divided in small groups some of them talked vivaciously, others shouted at each other, obviously trying to proof their point by raising their voices. Giggles or explicit laughter could be heard here and there.
Lots and lots of flowers brought as usual by the mothers of future “Reapins” and “Aivazovskiys”, who participated in an exhibition for the first time.
Konstantin Milavich, unlike his peers, never wandered around the halls of the exhibition. The other artists believed it was their right to quickly view the paintings before the public. Their true goal was to prove to themselves that their works would become the revelation to the public.
Konstantin Milavich painting was exhibited at his demand, in the last room, at the opposite wall. This way it could be seen through the wide door openings right from the exhibition entrance.
He knew that his wish, or rather condition, was fulfilled and felt triumphant. He was sure that the people, haven wandered around the place for a short time would gather at his painting and stay there for a long time.
Finally – the time to open the doors. Ivan Fedorovich shows up breathing heavily, surrounded by his escort. He gets the scissors out of his pocket, and… the public, pushing each other forward, streams into the hall.
Konstantin Milavich was not in a hurry. He waited a few moments, crushed his cigarette. He was the last person who entered the exhibition premises.
He went to the middle of the first room, his eyes turned to the floor. From there he looked up at his painting. The fact that the visitors of the exhibition were dashing into the direction of his painting did not surprise him. But when he saw the painting he shook with rage. The picture was hanging with its front facing the wall, its back exposed to the public – a black square. Konstantin Milavich rushed to the painting to fix the mistake of the negligent exhibition workers, but the people surrounding the picture blocked his way. The closer he got to the painting the harder it was to get through. He had to use his elbows to make his way. He was almost there.
When he reached out and touched the frame, he heard the cries: “Wonderful!”, “Amazing!”, “Stunning!”. Somebody in the public recognized the artist and screamed with joy. – Here he is – Konstantin Milavich!
The crowd turned to Milavich, somebody shouted, “Bravo!”. Young people lifted him from the floor and rose up into the air.
Oh! The sweetness of that moment!
Konstantin Milavich, being rocked in the hands of enchanted youth, looked at the black square and thought:
- It IS stunning!