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Brodsky exhibition opens ahead of Baryshnikov mania in Riga

The CUB gallery on Ausekļa st. 11 in Rīga has opened The Abridged Lion (Сокращённый лев), an exhibition by the famous Russian sculptor Alexei Blagovestnov that's dedicated to the great poet Joseph Brodsky. Original writings and drawings by Brodsky will also be on display.

It just so happened that The Lion Abridged opened two days before the premiere of Brodsky/Baryshnikov a performance piece featuring Riga-born Mikhail Baryshnikov that has quickly become the most sought-after event of the year with tickets reportedly changing hands for up to €400 euros on unofficial websites. 

By the way, Alexei Blagovestnov told that Baryshnikov is informed about the exhibition: "He said he'd come by."

A plaster sculpture of Brodsky serves as the central exhibit. The poet is shown sitting sitting in a shell with a cat-sized lion - Brodsky said in a 1995 interview that a cat is 'an abridged lion'.

A few pails of water have been poured out by the sculpture, and visitors can traverse it with the boots that are offered to visitors. Brodsky was born in Leningrad (The Venice of the North) and died in Venice – water is a constant protagonist in his oeuvre.

"For me the head of Brodsky is a pearl," said the author. "And looking at the work from the side, looking at the reflection in the water, a vast multitude of associations can be seen. I would not be surprised if this monument were at some point put on display in a city," he said.

Besides, as director of the gallery Darya Beskina told, original documents, manuscripts and drawings of Brodsky are in the exhibition.

"The photographs were provided by the Yale University which houses the Brodsky Archive," she said. "While letters and drawings were provided by a friend of ours from Moscow. He wanted to remain anonymous. He's a translator."

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