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Lev Smorgon
Form the 'Jubilees-2004' series

19 May - 27 June 2004
The Benois Wing

The personal exhibition of the St. Petersburg sculptor Lev Smorgon is dated to his 75th jubilee. It shows more than 20 sculptures along with some 30 works of graphics. An adversary of any stagnation, Lev Smorgon is constantly looking for sharpness of perception and for the value of the world around us, and brings his ideas to life in his oeuvre. Lev Smorgon was born in 1929 in Detskoye Selo (Pushkin). Having graduated from the Mukhina Leningrad Art-Industrial Higher School in 1952, he started working in the Porcelain factory by the Ceramics Institute. There he created things of porcelain, glass, made very interesting toys, which became popular. When working in workshops of the Centre of Applied Art, Lev Smorgon displayed interest in various techniques for agglomeration of flat glass, set experiments with form and colour, transformed objects of every-day life into unique works of art. In 1970s-1980s Lev Smorgon developed a new way of expressing himself. He paid much attention to graphics, scrutinised and remembered compositions of graphic studies made in the street, in transport, or at the beach, in order to create what he had seen in another material. By the early 1980s, his interest towards granite - a material difficult to work with - had sufficiently increased. Those "spontaneous", elaborate piles of stones in his works are in fact granite forms ideally combined and carefully united. Despite the manner of expression, Lev Smorgon's works never seize to be works of art and create an image which depicts the sitter fully and reveals their nature. Permanent search of the right proportion of the material and the space, dynamic images and fine humour are characteristic of the works of this artist, who found his manner long ago but is nevertheless constantly changing and setting experiments.