November 13, 1925 - Was born in Moscow into the family of Leon Borisovich and Elena Mikhailovna Berlin. His father was Sultan-Zade (Mikaeljan), an Iranian, reviewer of V.I. Lenin on eastern questions, one of the founders of the Persian communist party. Since 1925 he worked as editor in chief of the magazine "Economicheskoe stroitelstvo", where in that time Å.̀. Berlin worked too. Was shot during the repressions of 1938. L. discovered who his real father was at age 16.
1930-1940 - Leon Berlin, professional engineer-electrician, brought Leonid into his field of work and tried to develop his abilities in technical creativity. Simultaneously, a flat-mate of Berlin, M.N. Riehenstain, art critic and curator of the sculpture department of the Tretyakov Gallery, noticed in the children's figures of Leonid Berlin an ability to fine art and personally included him in the circle of drawing of House of pioneers. In the same period the future artist creates the first sculptures ("Music", 1940, plaster etc.).
1940 - Drawn by 14 years old L. Berlin still life published in magazine "Young Artist" (See: "Bibliography", 1940, item 1).
1941 - Summer. Evacuated with family to Chelyabinsk. Maliy Theatre is evacuated there too, and Leonid Berlin accepted to a post of the schoolboy of sham shop. It is his first place of work, he receives the salary and grocery cards. Leonid Berlin wants to leave school, but, on the insistence of the father-in-law, is forced to continue study, combining it with work. The activity of sham shop is supervised directly with the leader artist of theatre Boris Georgievich Knoblock. He practically releases Berlin from sham work. Leonid paints pictures for decorations of spectacles and portraits of the actors.
1942 - Together with Maliy Theatre, where he continues to work, returnd in Moscow.
Creates series of illustrations to the drama of A.N. Ostrovsky "Thunder-storm".
Visits art studio of VCSPS (All-Union Union of Trade Unions), where he studies, together with I. Novodezhkin - subsequently the designer of the movies "Optimistic Tragedy " and "Andrey Rublev". V. Zaitseva, future wife of the artist, also studied in the same year in the studio, but their acquaintance took place much later.
1943-1949 - Trains at sculptural faculty of Moscow State Art Institute (MGHI) named by V.I. Surikov (workshop of A.T. Matveev); among the teachers marks also P.Ya. Pavlinov. On the last year of studying receives Stalin's grant. Curator of the diploma - N.V. Tomsky (A.T. Matveev have been dismissed in 1948).
1943 - Visits zoo, creates (from plasticine) from nature sketches of animals.
Begins to work on series of graphics sheets (ink, water) "Origin of the Human".
1944 - Creates a series of illustrations to works of F.M. Dostoevsky. Tragic line in graphics is precisely traced.
1949 - Participates in an All-Union art exhibition. Exhibits two sculptural portraits of the champion of the world on chess Mikhail Botvinnik (is created in 1947 - from words of the author; in 1950, according to the Directory of exhibitions - see: "Bibliography", 1952, item 1; M.M. Botvinnik, from words of the artist, worked as the engineer together with Å.̀. Berlin) and of chief of DNEPROGES - V.E. Vedeneev (is created in 1947, agrees to the "Act about defining of quality of the sculptural portrait of the deceased academician V.E. Vedeneev" dated 25.01.47; in 1950, according to the Directory of exhibitions - see: "Bibliography", 1952, item 1).
1950 - is accepted in the Union of Artists of the USSR, Moscow department (former MOSSH, subsequently MOSH RSFSR); recommendation have given N.V. Tomsky and G.A. Schultz, former teacher of Berlin.
Late 1940s - beginning of 1950s - main directions of creativity to which the artist adheres to the present time, are developed: animalistic ("Goats", 1947; "Deer", 1950; "Monkey", 1946; "Fighting goats", 1946; "Goat", 1945; "Bear", 1945. All works are executed in plaster); genre sculpture ("Man with child", 1944, clay; "Playing children ", 1954, plaster etc.); sculptural portrait ("F.E. Dzerjinsky", 1946, plaster was placed in All-Union Institute of Termotechnics named by F.E. Dzerjinsky, Moscow; "Portrait of the academician A.N. Severtsev", 1952 etc.); works filled with civil and social pathos ("Seaman with bomb", 1944; "Banner of peace", 1952; "Friendship of peoples in struggle for peace", 1953 etc.). The works of these years are marked with diligent, skilful realistic work, interest to details.
1949-1959 years - Regularly (sometimes on several times in one year) takes part in various scale official group exhibitions. Thus information about many of these were not saved and consequently have not been included in section "Group exhibitions". In the majority of exhibitions took part up to several hundred of artists; L. Berlin, as a rule, was represented by one-to-five works.
1951 - "Portrait of M.M. Botvinnik" is recommended by N.V. Tomsky for acquisition by the Committee on Physical Culture, but was not acquired. Only in 1992 this work passes to state storage (have been given by the author to the chess club of Palace of Pioneers on Lenin's Hills, Moscow).
1952 - Together with group of sculptors receives gratitude in the Order of Committee on Arts of Ministerial Council of the USSR for the help to N.V. Tomsky in work on monument dedicated to N.V. Gogol (jointly with sculptors N.A. Pisarev, L.E. Kerbel, V.E. Tsigal, V.I. Parkhalin and R.T. Geondjan).
1952-1953 - is awarded with two honourable letters of Moscow Territorial Department of Komsomol "for creative achievements on the first exhibition of the young artists of Moscow" and "for creative achievements".
Mid 1950s - 1960s - Beginning of "Hruschev's thaw".
Since 1954 actively participates in creation of new style of official art known later under the name of "severe sixties style ". The heroic patriotic thematic is invoked. Works of these years are sated with the romanticism of struggle, and differ in emotionality and expression. Works on expressiveness of silhouette, forms get increasing abstractness and avarice of details. "...I refuse from understanding of sculpture as arts of halftones, hardly noticeable movements, refined modulations of a surface. We always attract drama events of life, in which the broad masses of people, power of struggle, romanticism of feat" (L. Berlin, see: "Bibliography", 1964, item 5). Callings of monumental compositions are characteristic. Author marks as mainstream such works as "Petition", 1957, "Into space" ("Satellite"), 1958-1964 years, "Optimistic tragedy", 1962. New style causes resistance of old academic school 1940-1950-th years. In the press, besides positive responses on sculptures of Berlin, there are sharply critical remarks.
1954-1956 - Creative trips around the country. First - in the House of Creativity of Union of Artists in Dzintari (Latvia). Just there for the first time begins to work with majolica, as ceramics and porcelain (up to it worked only with plaster and not burnt clay). Second - on Altai (1955), together with his wife. During trips creates the numerous sketches in plasticine, pencil sketches. Under these sketches has created subsequently sculptures "Petition" and "Family". Third - in Bratsk, Irkutsk and on Baikal (1956). Reverse side of soviet reality (gloomy faces of workers, queues uncomfortable life, pigsty common trains, stinking ship holds, dirty cities and much another), which the artist observed during trips on Siberia, has given impressions on all life and in many respects has determined it further his creative trend. After Siberia creates such works as "Builders", "Telephone" etc.
Up to familiarity with V. Zaitseva worked much in painting, but then has decided to not step in the sphere of activity of wife-artist. Painting disappears from his creativity down to 1974 ("Escalator", the work is in State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow).
1955 - Takes part in exhibition is organised by Academia of Fine Arts of the USSR. L. Berlin exposes 43 sculptural works (in particular, work "Music", created in 1940) and 43 graphics pages (from series "Origin of human ", begun in 1943; illustrations to works of F.M. Dostoevsky and A.N. Ostrovsky of that period). Graphics of the artist on available data is on display for the first time.
On the exhibition the familiarity with Nasim Hikmet was held. "Works of young sculptor L. L. Berlin has pleased me, as a fresh wind... He does not have break between the form and content. He does not have formalism neither under the form, nor on content" (Nasim Hikmet. Written response about works of L. Berlin represented for discussion of the exhibition). Poet pays attention to the Berlin's cycle "Origin of human", artist gifts to him one of the works. This familiarity has put a beginning of friendship with poet, which has played a significant role in life of sculptor.
The familiarity with future wife V.M. Zaitseva, which was held during preparation to the exhibition.
1956 - Marries. Wife - Vera Mikhailovna Zaitseva, person of bright individuality, original artist working at theatre and in the field of decorative-applied art, teacher (taught at school-studio of MHAT named by Chekhov). Deeply understanding the creative quest of her husband, she becomes his faithful friend and support.
Creates a series of illustrations to the works of Nasim Hikmet, which subsequently M. Gerstain will compare with works of Stailen, Colvitz and Prorokov. (See: "Bibliography", 1964, item 3)
Nasim Hikmet involves the artist in work in publishing houses. To overcome resistance of authorities and to publish illustrations of Berlin to his books Nasim Hikmet puts the signature on each graphics page.
Together with V. Zaitseva creates summer residence in Kratovo, which till 1962 becomes his workshop.
1957 - Familiarity with young art-critic Igor Evgenievich Svetlov (nowadays - professor, doctor of Fine Arts), at once become admirer of creativity of Berlin. The numerous articles that written in period with 1950-th till 1990 years, devoted to the deep analysis of creativity of the artist belong to his pen; by first he marked the new tendencies in Berlin's creative development. Practically he inserted into all publications (devoted in general to monumentalistics), even in most difficult, so-called "stagnant" years, the analysis of the last works of sculptor, including such "checkpoint", as "welded" compositions.
Third exhibition of works of young artists in Moscow puts the beginning to polemic obtaining per those years wide reflection in press, between the representatives of Stalin academic school of art and young artists. L. Berlin also takes part in the exhibition, on which, in particular, "Family" (1956, ceramics) exhibits sculptural composition.
In connection with the exhibition "Soviet Culture" newspaper publishes a response: "…It is doubtless, is very talented sculptor L. Berlin, which things both on prior and on this exhibition differ by deep understanding of plastic tasks, skill to construct composition, to connect sizes in space in a single unit. Unfortunately, on this exhibition in composition "Family" his skill to comprehend life acutely critically develops into a cartoon, in a caricature. So to see a reality of ordinary people is means to not know the people, to not communicate with them, to not know force and complexity of their characters..." (see: "Bibliography", 1957, item 1). This article is contained the critical remarks to address of V. Lemport, V. Sidur, N. Silis and also E. Neizvestny.
Sculptor D.M. Shakhovskoy objects to "Soviet Culture": "...In the sculpture of Berlin "Family", it seems, is exactly sickening state of people, the artist thinks by images, he has managed to see something very characteristic in life, in nature, and his rather small work has become, as it seems to me, significant". (See: "Bibliography", 1957, item 2)
1958 - Begins to work on seven-meter sculptural composition "Into space" ("Satellite"), 1958-1964 years, which causes the whole avalanche of positive responses in press. Transmission of Moscow radio abroad also is named "Into space": "About new work of sculptor L. Berlin". Enthusiastic response of students and teachers of military-air engineering Academy named by professor N.E. Zhukovsky made under the totals of the creative meeting with L. Berlin is devoted to the work and directed addressed to the manager of department of propagation of Moscow Union of Artists of the USSR. In it the desire express to install this work "in territory of Academy". About necessity of installation of the work is spoken and in the article published in popular newspaper of Academy (see: "Bibliography", 1964, item 3). However composition "Into space" was not installed and was not saved.
Silver medal of Committee on realisation of an International exhibition of book graphics in Leipzig for the cycle of figures to the collection of verses of Nasim Hikmet, created in 1956. In further not of time will address to graphics, creating extensive graphics series.
Continues to work in publishing houses, however gradually to illustrating grows cold. Co-operation with publishing houses proceeds as minimum till 1966.
Continues to work in genre compositions: "Cyclist" (1957), "Red hat" (1959). In comparison with early genre works these become more expressive, generalised; the artist works on the decorative form. In children's subjects I.E. Svetlov marks "pathetic lyricism" (see: "Bibliography", 1959, item 2).
On the Fourth exhibition of products of young artists L. Berlin exhibited sculptures "Brigade of communistic labour" and "Petition" (nowadays is in the central State museum of modern history of Russia (former Museum of revolution), Moscow). The polemic between the "academicians" and representatives of "severe sixties" proceeds. The national artist of the USSR, Hero of socialist labour, real member of Academy of Fine Arts of the USSR, twice winner of the USSR State premiums (1946 and 1948 years), sculptor Z.I. Azgur (was born in 1908) in "Talk with young sculptors" (see: "Bibliography", 1958, the item 1) mentions between other works Berlin's "Petition": "...But how this image of an old man-worker is fulfilled of belittled sacrificeness and how other young artisan, appearing with provocative look, does not answer, does not support him! What for this expressionistic anguish in the image of the old man? What for this fragmentary treatment of the form? Vainly gifted sculptor searches originality, looking back on images have been used before, tried in art, not found further development". The response of art critic N.R. Bubnova sounds similar, though softer, "Petition" in it "causes vague feeling of protest" (see: " Bibliography ", 1958, item 2). I.E. Svetlov enters in polemic: " In "Petition" the trick of contrast - favourite tool of the artist is used.... The significance and monumentality of group in many respects is stipulated by abstractiveness and witticism of the plastic language" (see: "Bibliography", 1959, item 2).
V.A. Favorsky, as recollects L. Berlin, by visiting the Fourth exhibition, highly estimates his work "Brigade of communist labour".
First article of I.E. Svetlov appears in December, it is wholly devoted to analysis of creativity of Berlin (see: "Bibliography", 1959, item 2), in which critic gives to it the highest estimation, marking thus some separate failures. Author of the article polemizes with Z. Vilensky (see: "Bibliography", 1959, item 3), praises sculptural composition "Brigade of communist labour" of Berlin. (I.E. Svetlov in the article names this work as "failure").
June 7 newspaper "Pravda" (see: "Bibliography", 1959, item 1) in the article devoted to analysis of the Week of fine art of RSFSR, writes: "Gathered people have examined with interest sculptural composition of Leonid Berlin "Brigade of communist labour". On available data this was first mention of the name of the artist in the main newspaper of the USSR.
By the invitation of N. Andronov participated in Intersectional group "Exhibition of nine" (June 1-10), organized in counterbalance to academicians (together with N.I. Andronov, B.T. Birger, V.T. Veisberg, N.A. Egorshina, M.V. Ivanov, K.A. Mordovin, M.F. Nikonov, M.V. Favorskaya), took place in Moscow, in Exhibition Hall of Moscow Union of Artists on Begovaya street.
1962 - There is a step-by-step completion of discussion between the artists of different generations and schools. From of newspaper publications, critical remarks to address of L. Berlin practically disappear; tone of the articles sounds more complimentarily: "When look on works of Shakhovskoy, Berlin, Sheemes, Deenes, Komov, Chernov and others, involuntarily it would be necessary to be glad, as polyhedral the life reflects in these works of art" (see: "Bibliography", 1962, item 1).
Creates sculptural group "Optimistic tragedy" for the same movie becoming the first work of L. Berlin for cinema and causing numerous and very positive responses in soviet press ("Pravda", "Soviet culture", "Moscow Komsomol member" etc.). I.E. Svetlov sees in it "continuation and development of remarkable traditions of V. Mukhina, I. Shadr, N. Andreev" (see: "Bibliography", 1963, item 2). Subsequently the work was placed in territory of Mosfilm studio and on Shchelkovo highway near the village Pehra-Pokrovskoe (see: "Bibliography", 1975).
Exhibition "30 years of Moscow Union of Artists". L. Berlin participates in main exposition on the first floor. "There I had composition to "Optimistic tragedy"... So here, Hruschev has approached to it:
- It what such?
- Ah, it's for cinema, - was the answer.
- For cinema, well.
Has approached to the Tishler's work, but his question already have warned:
- It for theatre.
- Ah, well, has gone further.
We with Tishler was lucky, others - Vasnetsov, Nikonov was not…" (L. Berlin. See: "Bibliography", 1996, item 5).
1960 years - For the first time address to new technique - iron welding, in which the works "Formula of explosion" (1963), and then "Bureaucrat" and "Aggression" are created. For the first time begins to work on kinetic sculpture ("Frame for the people". 1966-1979 years): "At last I connect creativity with engineering. Naturally, I'm an inventor of the eternal engine. I can be carried with mechanisms until somebody or something interrupts me" (L. Berlin. See: "Bibliography", 1996, item 5). Doctor of Fine Arts, professor A.I. Morozov writes later about this series: "...Somebody local collects on waste ground pieces of iron, scraps of pipes, small wheels, wire etc. Then all fastens one to another. A clever mechanism is inserted inside - nowadays monster begins to rattle and to shoot... The products of disintegration of socio-industrial utopia receive here unexpected nomination... Mortal animated, realies of human daily occurrence appear in alien. Theme of all creative life of Berlin - pain, involveness in catastrophe, incomprehensible ability of human to save in itself human be obscured by chaos of evil". (See: "Bibliography", 1993, item 1).
Makes for earnings (down to 70-th years) sculptural portraits of V.I. Lenin, to which, as he said, in those years concerned with sympathy.
Also for earnings makes illustrations in "Yunost" magazine and for publishing houses "Molodaya gvardiya" and "Hudozhestvennaya literature".
1963 - Death of Nasim Hikmet.
For the first time installs the work in monumental size ("Brigade of communistic labour").
1964 - While dismantle of an exhibition "Moscow socialistic" in "Manezh" workers drop and broken seven-meter plaster composition "Into space" ("Satellite"). The work is lost, was not saved. On words of the artist, composition on an exhibition has been seen and highly estimated by S.T. Konenkov who has convinced of the national artist of the USSR, winner of Lenin and State premiums, academician of Academia of Fine Arts A.P. Kibalnikov to assist to sculptor in translation of the work "Into space" in metal.
1966 - Trip together with the wife in Dagestan, Tbilisi and Hosta, probably, undirectly influenced the artist in his work on the movie "Legend about Rustam".
1967 - Receives the diploma of Moscow department of Art Fund of RSFSR "for creation in 1967 of sculptural group devoted to 50th anniversary of Soviet authority".
1969-1970 years - Works on monumental composition for movie "Legend about Rustam" (Studio Tadzhikfilm), in which uses stylistic feature of sculptures of epoch of Kushan's empire. The work on composition results in searches of new rhythmic and space solutions. The forms are extreme generalised and gravitate to geometricity. The constructive-rhythmic principle is characteristic for this work.
1970 years - Continue to work in technique of metal welding, on kinetic sculpture. Works on dynamics and constructiveness of metal welded sculptural compositions as well as on rhythmic link of the forms and active implicating in sculptural constructions of enclosing space. On figurative build these works get more and more tragic character.
The original individual creative style of L. Berlin is finally formed. Typical of him there is severe structuredness of construction, abstractness of the forms, approximate to geometrical abstraction, trick of contrast, grotesque, emotional saturation, publicity, ingenuity, invention. By the way, in due time I.E. Svetlov prophetically has specified gravitation of the artist to grotesque: "L. Berlin quite often is accused of conscious caricaturing of our heroes. It is incorrect... Exaggeration, grotesque - one of major problems of soviet sculpture not yet found of the solution also in creativity of Berlin. However there is no doubt, that the searches will result it in interesting results" (see: "Bibliography", 1959, item 2). Artist "names his works not differently as "emotiasm", it is his own neologism, meaning mixture of parodism with emotions". (See "Bibliography", 1998, item 2).
Works on graphics series "Impressions about life": "...Besides sculpture, Leonid Berlin is engaged in painting, figure and water colour. Executed in a satirical manner, typical for the tragic artist, these works reflect his outlook - outlook of the person, for whom all stages of historical degradation of soviet society since 1925 (year of birth of sculptor) are stages of his own life". (See: "Bibliography", 1996, item 8).
Gravitation to heroic subjects, to generalisations again results L. Berlin to monumental solutions, cause tendency to create large on sizes, monumental sculptural compositions. Are installed: "Monument to Verbovchans, died in fight for native Land in 1941-1945 years" in Murom (1975); "Monument to cadets and teachers of Academy named by F.E. Dzerzhinsky, perishing in Great Domestic war" (1974-1978 years, Moscow). The monuments approve "severe sixtieth" style. Criticism mark "severe tone of images". (See "Bibliography", 1976, item 3). But the dependence of the customer and requirements of official art caused not enough freedom of the author are felt in these works. Monuments in Murom (see: "Bibliography", 1976, item 2,3; 1984, item 4; 1977, item 1, etc.) and in front of Academy named by F.E. Dzerzhinsky (see: "Bibliography", 1977, item 2; 1978, item 1,2,3, etc.) receive wide positive response in press.
1973 - Participates in the exhibition "Figures of sculptors", where for the first time exhibits series of illustrations to the book of John Reed "Ten days, which have shaken the world" (one of them is published in the review of an exhibition - see: "Bibliography", 1973, item 1) and Shakh-Namee, and also cycle "Impressions about life", which, on acceptable reasons, produces as illustrations to novels of B. Brecht: "...Pictures of searches, arrests, poor home life, terrible hospital decor, manipulation with uncomplaining people, which have lost advantage, one for other are opened in figures of Leonid Berlin... To have an opportunity to expose these works, Berlin had to think up a legend that they are illustrations to novels of Brecht. The artist by himself composed "citations" from Brecht, trying how to justify in eyes of censors represented on figures nasty scenes from life of native fatherland". (See: "Bibliography", 1996, item 8). Those years the official soviet press in a response to an indicated exhibition wrote: "Angrily convicting atrocities of Nazism an illustration to Brecht..." (See: "Bibliography", 1973, item 1).
Exhibition "Figures of sculptors" visits ̀. Chagall. He so liked graphics of L. Berlin, that he has wanted to meet with him, but could not find the artist, since he has left on summer residence in Kratovo.
On February 28 in Moscow, in Exhibition Hall on Kuznetsky Most, 11 realisation of creative evening (is planned together with B. Nemechik and K. Stepanov) have taken place, artist had intended for the first time to show there his "welded" works. However evening was prohibited, one-day exhibition was sealed before opening, "welded" compositions were broken, taken out and thrown out through the fence of summer residence of Berlin on standing under snow "Optimistic tragedy" (sic!). Artist submits to court and wins his case (judge B.I. Shalagin was soon dismissed from work; director of Exhibition Hall M.S. Denisova was dismissed also). On solution of court "Moscow artist" the official newspaper of Moscow Union of Artist should publish apologies to sculptor, that was not made. On solution of court L. Berlin have gained 1800 roubles. On restoring of works.
At the exhibition on Kuznetsky Most the artist renamed a number of works, that, by the way, occurs rather frequently and complicates their identification. "Thus (speech goes about indicated exhibition - comment of compilators) names of some works have advised "to correct a little bit". So, "Beaurocratism" has turned in "Colonialism", and "For what?" - in "War" (see: "Bibliography", 1996, item 8).
Nervous and physical shock, connected with court and work on restoring bent out sculptures, result in illness and an operation. During illness and the period of rehabilitation of the artist, his wife V. Zaitseva carried out his business for him.
July 11 the All-Union art exhibition "Sculpture and flowers" on VDNH USSR opens, where "welded" sculpture "Little donkey" ("Submissiveness") is on display in front of the pavilion "Flowering and gardening". Exhibition had a large resonance in soviet press rather positively perceiving Berlin's work. ("Quivering and plastic " Little donkey" of L. Berlin" - "Novosti", see: "Bibliography", 1974, item 4. " Organically live on air typically park sculptures "Girl with fallow-deer " of M. Zhidkova, "Little donkey" of L. Berlin, easel portrait of kolhoz (soviet collective farm - comment of compilators) woman of E. Chubarov" - "Pravda", see: "Bibliography", 1974, item 3.)
December 19 the group exhibition (share with B. Nemechik and K. Stepanov) in the Exhibition hall of Moscow Union of Artists on Vavilov street opens. Artist - besides other sculptural and graphics works - for the first time (short of "Little donkey") exhibits there "welded" compositions. On acceptable reasons he represents them as an anti-war series, for what again gives them new names: "Frame for people" becomes "Resistance" (per the consequent years on different exhibitions is on display also under the names "Requiem" and "Memorial"). Exhibition as though sums up works of sculptor and brightly demonstrates the direction of his creative searches. To this exhibition is released the first personal directory (1976) poster and invitation card, on which "Little donkey" is reproduced. Besides sculpture, graphics sheets from series of illustrations to B. Brecht and J. Reed also are widely represented. On formal tags (separate directory, personal invitation card and poster (see: "Bibliography", 1976, item 1), publication in magazine "Art" (see: "Bibliography", 1975, item 3)) and value (amount of represented works - 61 sculptures and 66 graphics sheets) exhibition is necessary to consider personal. However, on words of L. Berlin, in one hall with his works sculpture and graphics works of B. Nemechik hung and sculptor by himself considers the exhibition on Vavilov street as group exhibition. On words of L. Berlin, from its directory, on acceptable reasons the foreword of V.A. Lebedev was removed (directory has left without the foreword), which was subsequently published in a yearbook "Soviet sculpture - 78" (see: "Bibliography", 1980, item 1).
On the exhibition artist gets acquainted with G.D. Kostaki, who displays interest to works "Resistance" (composition was not completed yet: there was no wooden "frame"; central part on chains was attached to the ceiling of the hall) and "Tragedy" ("Hands of mankind"), which has not included in exposition and was in store, where to L. Berlin specially drove G.D. Kostaki.
Takes part in one of preliminary expositions (together with E. Arnold, E. Batchurin, I. Brodskaya etc.) to the forthcoming "experimental" exhibition on Begovaya street (so called "Spring room exhibitions") in workshop of M. Odnoralov.
Involvement in exhibition of works of Moscow artists "Painting. Graphics. Sculpture" (so-called "experimental") in the exhibition hall of Moscow Union of Artists on Begovaya street (are exposed 1 sculpture and 20 figures), on which the works of the informal artists of Moscow were shown. From all participants of previews only members of Moscow Union of Artists were accepted to the exhibition. The question on opening of the exhibition was roughly discussed on meeting of Commission on exhibition operation of senior Management of culture of executive committee of Moscow Soviet (protocol ¹ 12 at 12.08.1976. "Agenda: reception of the off-schedule group exhibition of the artists - members of Moscow Union of Artists of the Union of Artist of the RSFSR: Odnoralov M.I., Nikonov M.P., Chumachenko V.V., Slepishev A.S., Tselkov O.N., Grositsky A.B., Driuchin A.N., Konisheva N.I., Belenok P.I., Tjapushkin A.A. (was represented just one picture of A.A. Tjapushkin, and commission did not pass it in the exhibition - comment of compilators), Brodskaya I.A., Berlin L.L., Roginsky M.A."). It was offered to remove two works of L. Berlin (illustrations to Brecht). On sentence of the member of commission A.V. Vasnetsov one of them was anyway left. But thus: "Vasnetsov A.V.: we should tell, that the creativity of these artists is not art phenomenon… Rachev I.E.: all artists - members of Union of Artists. But they are exposed with antihuman works, contradicting to the Charter of Union of Artists". And further: "From the decision of meeting of the exhibition commission of State Department of Culture: the commission regards necessary to mark, that the present exhibition is experimental, debatable" (see: "Bibliography", 1995, item 5).
1978 - Participates in the exhibition "Artists of Russia to children", where demonstrates plaster "Circus": "Perfect sculptural composition: all participants stand on heads of each other. Boy in cowards sits on dog, smaller dog is on his nape, and sparrow - between smaller dog's ears. The most small girl holds mouse on palm". (See: "Bibliography", 1978, item 5).
Sculptural group "Circus" (cast aluminium) is installed on facade of Theatre of animals named by V. Durov.
End 1970-th - 1980 years - Continue to work on "welded" sculptures: "Motherhood and modern life" (1980), "Evolution" (1982), "Spring" (1981), "Exhibit" (1989).
Works much in traditional sculptural materials. In these works there is more figurativeness, than in mobiles and "welded" compositions. But, as critic correctly notices, "found in work on "Iron" cycle the principle of constructive-rhythmic expression is saved" (see: "Bibliography", 1980, item 1). It is possible to notice in this work the baroque decorativeness of silhouettes, alternation of the material forms and air space between it. They are plentifully exposed on Moscow republican and all-Union exhibitions in 1970s-1980s.
Continues to work on sculptural portraits.
1981 - Premium of Moscow Union of Artists "for the best works on the autumn exhibition of 1981". Work "Robinson Crusoe" (1979) is first in the section of sculpture.
1983 - Death of wife Vera Zaitseva.
Is awarded with third premium of Theatre of drama and comedy on Taganka for involvement in competition on the project of cenotaph to V.S. Visotsky. "…True artist is naked in his creativity before people. Leonid Berlin convinced in it. Therefore two-meter moulded figure of Vladimir Visotsky (1982, bronze, 210ơ100ơ80) "dressed off" by him… Mother of Poet categorically has opposed acceptance of this project of monument, and now it stands on back court yard of Central House of Artist, where have pushed Museum of Sculpture under the open sky". (See: "Bibliography", 1995, item 4).
On the First All-Union exhibition of sculpture (Central House of Artist, 1983) "welded" composition "Memorial" is exposed. "Pravda" results work as an example of the new tendencies in soviet sculpture, by giving only description of it without mention of the name (see: "Bibliography", 1983, item 3).
"Moscow comsomol member" in response on the exhibition marks: "Leonid Berlin has exposed, besides intimate chamber "Girl with little bird" and "Adam and Eve", also ringing and playing by fires vast "Memorial" (see: "Bibliography", 1983, item 2).
1984 - is marked by the diploma of Moscow Union of Artists for the best work of 1984 on sculpture section.
Participates in the exhibition "Graphics. Sculpture" (together with G. Basirov etc.). On words of the artist, all graphics sheets represented by them to exhibition committee were removed on acceptable reasons, though in directory they are listed. The directory has left without the introductory article of V. Meiland, which, on words of the artist, was removed on acceptable reasons because of detailed analysis of Berlin's graphics contained in it.
Discussion, which beginning has put by the article in "Moscow artist" newspaper (see: "Bibliography", 1984, item 2) about "compliment and uncritical" character of discussion of art exhibitions on an example of group exhibition of L. Berlin, G. Basirov etc.
Second half of 1980-th - 1990 years - Again actively works in ceramics. Creates many works, in which there are new nuances: strengthening of grotesque, appearance of naturalistic details alongside with large generalisation and conditionality of forms, that strengthens witticism and tragedy of images.
Large place in creativity of these years is occupied by work on design of stations of Moscow underground. 1984 - composition "Protection of nature" for the "Orekhovo" metro-station. "The was not anything similar till now in the underground yet - it was necessary for the artist to solve the task of figurative expressiveness in parallel way with really technical problems. The multiton composition in welded frame is looked as tracery construction". (See: "Bibliography", 1985, item 2). 1985 - reliefs for the "Krasnogvardeyskaya" metro-station.
Works on the earlier begun "welded" compositions, and also creates new: "Human" (1970-1990 years), "Wedge" (1992), "Artist" (1994), "Herd" (1994) - which actively exposes on group exhibitions, both domestic, and foreign. "...When are on display kinetic sculpture of Berlin, around it there are people, interested by unusual show, invariable crowds: the constructions, welded from old iron, move, sound, thrill and shine, flash and die away, painfully scream and become transfixed in heavy torpid ". (See: "Bibliography", 1997, item 2).
1986 - Marries second time. Wife - Lubov Vasilievna Khartashova, art critic, worked as scientific specialist in State Museum of Fine Arts named by A.S. Pushkin.
1987 - Son Anatoly was born.
Participates in the exhibition "Retrospection. 1957-1987" organised by association "Hermitage" (Moscow, Profsoyuznaya Street, #100) and devoted to history of soviet non-conformism.
1988 - Trip to Seoul, which has become his first trip adroad, on opening of the Museum of Sculpture under open sky dated to the beginning of Olympic games. Has exposed three "welded" works, which are now in the constant exposition of the museum.
On the exhibition devoted to victims of Stalin's reprisals, organized by the "Memorial" community, is exhibited composition "Frame for people".
1989 - Exhibits work "Parade" in London on the exhibition "Transformation. Validity and authority. The newest soviet art", exhibition, organised on traces of the exhibition of "Memorial" community of 1988. The trip on opening has become second (and till now the last) trip of L. Berlin abroad.
Continues to work with Moscow metro. Installs on the roof of the lobby of the " Bitsevsky Park" metro-station multicurly space-kinetic composition representing children and animals: "Unfortunately, from construction of zoo then have refused. A lobby have closed, and mobile have held down by chains". See: "Bibliography", 1995, item 3).
French galleriest Antee Glibota, assisting to the artist to select works for Seoul, takes away with him about 100 figures of different years for the exhibition in Paris. Information about the exhibition is absent; the figures taken with promise of return have been lost.
1991 - Participates in retrospective exhibition ""Other art" Moscow, 1956-76 years", which task - "to show independent Moscow art of the post-Stalin twentieth century. Art... parallel, that is not privy to official ways "of deliveries of culture to the population"..." (see: "Bibliography", 1991, item 2).
1992 - For strengthening of images continues to use contrast of materials and surfaces, combination of the most unexpected materials. If earlier he willingly created a tree in "welded" works, now for the first time uses ceramics in it (composition "Wedge"). One-colour dark, "antihuman" welded iron with its rough facture unexpectedly adjoins with painted in bright, light colours gentle, fragile and "human" material of ceramics.
Beginning to work on the composition "People" ("Co-citizens"); for the first time is shown in 1994; nowadays is in private collection in Italy. It is a whole gallery of human figures, joined in groups, created from the most various materials. Here there is woman with wings of angel, and old woman, and hawker with alive human heads on the tray, and bare-footed man etc. Rag attires are thrown over some figures. It is strange folk, in creation of which the uncontrollable imagination and invention of the author was full displayed; figures acutely grotesque and a little weird. Grotesque, in general peculiar to sculptures of L. Berlin, here is aggravated extremely, abstract forms border with naturalistic details. The feature of the manner of L. Berlin was displayed, when he in very abstract, extremely generalized forms of sculpture enters a little precisely and convincingly of emotionally sounding details recovering sculptural figures, transforming an invention and abstraction in full life image. The composition "Electorate" (1979-1996 years) adjoins to this composition stylistically and figuratively.
1993 - Begins to appear articles devoted to creative and vital path of the artist (for ex., see: "Bibliography", 1995, item 3; 1993, item 2; 1996, item 8,9; 1998, item 5 etc.), in which the numerous biographic details are resulted; sculptor willingly share by memoirs with the journalists:
"L. Berlin: First kinetic sculpture "Formula of explosion" has appeared in 1963. Then - "For what", "Submissiveness" etc.
Question: Was it your hope to show these works to the general public?
L. Berlin: Absolutely not. Yes, in that time in general any hopes were not more. But the ideas "raged", I made my sounding kinetic sculpture continuously, but showed it only to friends in workshop". The article comes ends so: "Never stepping in policy, ignoring conjuncture, recognised foreman-innovator, alas, has not received neither monography, nor catalogue and personal exhibition". (See: "Bibliography", 1996, item 5).
1995 - Takes part in the exhibition of group "Facets" (together with B. Gusev, A. Kulikov, Yu. Kazanskaya, L. Guseva, V. Larionova etc.) in Exhibition Hall of Moscow Union of Artists on Kuznetsky Most. In the "Facets" group, which has broken soon after the exhibition (L. Berlin was exposed one more time, in 1996, with one of its participants - painter B. Gusev - see: "Exhibitions", 1996), L. Berlin was considerably higher on age than others its members and, as against to some of them, had high art education.
1995-1996 - Decorates of the "Rimskaya" metro-station. In this work continues the line, where refuses from heroic pathos of former monumental works. Also just here he releases from restless baroqueness of decorative silhouettes. The sculptures of "Rimskaya" differ by soft smoothness of the large forms, light, solar colour, quiet clearness of the image, blown by art of Italian Renaissance, creating in transition of the metro unexpected, joyful atmosphere. In the review of this work V. Vardjapetjan sets rithoric question: "...Why in communist time there could not be such brave, painted sculptures? Because it is not only perfect -it is free. They were modelled by not just the free artist, but by free person". (See: "Bibliography", 1996, item 3). Sculptural decoration of "Rimskaya" metro-station caused significant response in the press. In many articles note that the decoration of "Rimskaya" approximated accent on humanistic, closed to the person character, that "personified our epoch, epoch of disposal from collective hypnoses and farewell with the old myths and illusions" (see: "Bibliography", 1997, item 3). Authors oppose it to the soulless, "imperial" and "unfree" decoration of the underground stations of epoch of socialism (there, 1996, item 3). "...Berlin is compared with Italian sculptor Giacometti, why he, probably, for maintenance of his image, "constructs" in Moscow (as the artist) the new metro-station - "Rimskaya" " (there, 1996, item 1). "...Sculptures of Berlin from fired clay - newest interpretation of the best samples of Italian sculpture of XIV-XV centuries" (there, 1996, item 7). "..." Rimskaya" station is not the story about Italy. This is the personal perusal of Leonid Berlin of the history and history of arts in particular" (there, 1996, item 6).
1996 - Takes part in the exhibition "Their best day" (together with B. Gusev), on which for the first time the creativity of the artist is represented widest and in all its diversity.
"Special environment is necessary to works of L. Berlin, undoubtedly, like the museum of Sidur" -newspaper "Evening club" (see: "Bibliography", 1996, item 9).
1997 - Receives the rank of the Winner of the Premium of Moscow in the field of literature and art - for monumental-decorative decoration of the "Rimskaya" metro-station. The diploma is entrusted by the mayor of Moscow Y.M. Luzhkov.
1998 - Show of graphics series, illustrations from B. Brecht and illustrations to the books of the foreign authors (personal exhibition in the A.D. Sakharov Centre).
Installs bronze "Portrait of the academician of Academia of Medicine Science V.I. Burakovsky" in institute of this name. On solemn opening accepts congratulations from the Prime Minister of Russia E.M.Primakov.
1999 - Opening on February 6 of the exhibition in Moscow state museum of Vadim Sidur: "Till now exhibitions were for me a wearisome, severe trials... In museum of Sidur for the first time without limitations I have exposed everything, that wanted.... For the first time in my life - present catalogue with the article, invitation card and my up to now confused archives, are given in order" (L. Berlin).
G. Sidur, M. Sidur
2000 - Leonid Berlin has died in the end of December in his Moscow flat.
© Moscow state museum of Vadim Sidur