From 8 October, an exhibition Boriss Bērziņš. Pages (Boriss Bērziņš. Lapaspuses), will be open in the Level 4 gallery of the National Library of Latvia (NLL). It is dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the artist Boriss Bērziņš (1930–2002) and will feature unusual artefacts from his extensive heritage in the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art. On display are the artist’s drawings and sketches in books, magazines, on reproductions, flyers, envelopes and other carriers of everyday information and texts. The exhibition is open until 5 September 2021. Entrance is free.
Self-expression in note-like drawings helped the artist to develop scenes and ideas that suddenly arose in his imagination, it was part of his perception and became a lifelong habit. These works, often untitled and undated, reflect manifestations of the creative process that have rarely been seen in exhibitions to date. These are ingenious and spontaneous drawings, simple sketches and written notes that reflect the subtle and sometimes ironically tinted nuances picked up in the study of life.
Books always played a large role in Bērziņš' life and art – in his childhood, he eagerly leafed through the art books brought by his father, he studied, copied and recreated their subjects, often executing his sketches or notes right on the reproductions or text pages.
"A book leads you to all kinds of things. You cannot foresee it. It shows you new ideas, you fall for something. Often there is a reproduction and next to it – blank space. Whatever comes into my mind – I draw it right beside. [..]You don't have to look for paper, you have a ball-point pen, which doesn’t leak all over the place ... Because very often those drawings are damned helpful, inspiring the painting of a picture. [..]Yet it is all so unpredictable, it is such an intimate thing, you cannot plan it." – Boriss Bērziņš.
Painter, graphic artist, draughtsman and teacher Boriss Bērziņš was born in Rīga on 7 October 1930. From 1947 to 1952, he studied at Riga's Janis Rozentāls Art High School, from 1952 to 1959 – at the Latvian State Academy of Arts, graduating with the diploma work Plostnieki (The Raftsmen) under the tutelage of Eduards Kalniņš. He took part in exhibitions from 1955. After the death of Eduards Kalniņš in 1988, he took over and headed the USSR Academy of Arts Creative Workshop in Rīga. He was a member of the Artists' Union of Latvia from 1961. He was the recipient of important awards in Latvia and abroad. In 1994, he was elected an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. In 1995, he was awarded Latvia's Order of the Three Stars. From 1997, he was a lifetime stipendiary of the State Culture Capital Foundation. In 2000, he received the Spīdola Prize of the Latvian Culture Foundation for his lifetime achievement in art. His work Mākslinieks un modelis (Artist and Model, 1985) is included in the Latvian Cultural Canon.
In his testament of 1 February 2002, Bērziņš bequeathed all his works to the Latvian National Museum of Art. He passed away on 11 February 2002 and was buried in Rīga's I Forest Cemetery.
Exhibition organised by the Latvian National Museum of Art in cooperation with the National Library of Latvia
Text – Gundega Cēbere, curator of the LNMM's Boriss Bērziņš collection
Design – Verners Timoško
Project manager – Brigita Zelča-Aispure
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