Yuri Leiderman

One day I was round at a friend’s place. We drank some wine and because he’s such a music-lover, he played me various tracks from his collection. In amongst these was an old (but as relevant today as ever) Jewish song about “King Hosea, who built a wall around Jerusalem and made it impregnable.” I liked this typically Hasidic trance-inducing melody so much that I started playing it again and again and still couldn’t get sick of it. Our discussion then turned to contemporary art and my host started showing me books about Duchamp from his personal library. Thus after a while I suddenly discovered myself performing something which vaguely resembled the Jewish “Freilekhs” dance but with the Duchamp books in my hands. That combination struck me as a pre-prepared artistic work. After a few tries in different costumes, I decided that the best version of all would be to dance the performance in a bear costume, as if thereby unifying the “three sources” of my identity: the bear (Russia), Jewish dance (Jewishness), books about Duchamp (“contemporary art” and so on).

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