Alexander Brener: biography, exhibitions, publications


They speak of him as a madman, not knowing the measure, a creative with a shiza, an oddball with strange ways. He is called a radical poet, a scumbag, a hooligan artist, a brawler, as well as a master of performance. All this is Alexander Brener. And this is a free artist, poet, leader of Moscow actionism and a writer. Himself, our hero calls a political activist, whose views are far from clear to everyone. More on this chaotic character with an unusually radical view of social life is described below.

A few words about birth and motherland

Strangely enough, but it is in decent and cultural families that the most scandalous individuals are born. Perhaps the reason for all certain prohibitions and rules that, due to circumstances, they must comply with. However, over time, the reluctance to obey them develops into a real protest, which is very often imposed on public display. A vivid example of this is Alexander Brener. His biography begins with the birth in 1957. The artist and writer was born in one of the Soviet hospitals in Almaty.


The parents of the free artist were a teacher of Russian literature and a professor. They adhered to strict rules of morality, did not like to stand out among others, and considered themselves a worthy unit of society. But Alexander Brener did not follow in their footsteps. On the contrary, since childhood, a sense of protest literally boiled inside of him, which for some time he tried to restrain with all his might. Later, he will succumb to the will of emotions, which over the edge will let out.

The first contact with fine art

For the first time, Alexander Brener encountered art at the age of seven. At this time, he was able to see the work of Sergei Ivanovich Kalmykov, who on one of the streets of Alma-Ata painted from life. At that time, it was said that this man was not just a painter, but also a kind of fashion designer, since he personally reworked costumes from the theater studio. Because of this, they were too bright and dissimilar. As Alexander Brener would write later about him, this was their fateful meeting, which changed the hero's worldview and made him look at the world with completely different eyes.

Getting an education

After graduating from high school, Alexander Brener (artist and master of scandalous art ) entered the Abai Kazakh Pedagogical Institute. Here he graduated from the Faculty of Philology, which predicted his career as a teacher, educator or teacher. But no, such perspectives did not suit our hero at all. He always wanted more.


However, following the instructions of his mother, in 1978 he nevertheless entered the Leningrad State Pedagogical Institute named after Herzen in the Faculty of Philology. However, the path of the philologist never chose our Alexander Brener. An architect with the same name, but double “nn” in the family name, by the way, unlike this hero, followed in the footsteps of relatives. As a result, in 1990, he created his own company in Stuttgart and today pleases his clients with unique mansions that are unique and most appropriate to the city’s appearance. In general, unlike the successful namesake, our Brener has deviated in a completely different direction, which does not bring much profit.

A cardinal turn in life and departure to Israel

After graduation, he could not find a job for a long time. Something constantly did not suit him. And it is possible that our hero could not find himself. After a hopeless search, as well as from lack of money and boredom, he temporarily moves to Israel. It is here that Alexander Brener (artist) organizes one of his first exhibitions. In 1989, it takes place in the House of Artists (Jerusalem). At this time, the so-called group exhibition was organized, in which young talents from different countries took part. Exactly a year later, a similar exhibition was held at the Dead-end Gallery (Tel Aviv).

Work in the weekly "Running Time" and the first messy feelings

During his stay in Israel, Alexander Brener, a photo of which can be found in this article, managed not only to work, but also to gain some quite unenviable fame. So, at first he got the position of one of the journalists of the scandalous weekly “Running Time”. There he was considered one of the leading art critics and led his information column.


And everything seemed to be working out for him, but something was missing again. And this is something that literally nibbled and bothered our creative personality. Artists and poets are sometimes very difficult to understand. It was difficult to assess the sanity and actions of a person who presents each of his actions as a kind of scandal. By the way, as it turned out, it was a kind of art that is very popular abroad.

The earliest performances of the hero

At one point, this indescribable and confused feeling prompted our hero to conduct an unusual action. He called his creation the “Great beggar of the Ku Klux Klan”. The action, in which the future spouse of the artist Lyudmila and their mutual friend Roman Beymbaev took part, took place at noon. It consisted in the following:

  • At the corner of Dizengoff and Frishman streets in Tel Aviv (where there was a small bookstore) three participants brought a large box (its dimensions: 87 x 75 x 240 cm).
  • The box was wrapped in wrapping paper and small holes were made in it.
  • Alexander was placed inside the box.
  • Roman Bembaev sat down on a small stool, located nearby.
  • A hat was placed beside him, where one small paper note and a little trifle lay symbolically.
  • Lyudmila was engaged in photographing this public presentation and stood aside.


In total, Alexander Brener, whose poems are as creative as himself, were in the box for one hour and forty minutes. At the same time, most of the time, he simply stood silently and did not make any sounds. And in the last 20 minutes, he jumped, loosened the box, beat on it with his hands and made strange cries. It is not known how much time it would have lasted, if not for a bystander. Apparently, the young man who did not appreciate the charm of scandalous art approached the box and tore it up. Alexander freed himself, collected spare parts from his imprisonment and, together with other participants, silently went to the exit.

A strange trinity show

No sooner had the residents of Tel Aviv recovered from the previous masterpiece performance, as they were waiting for a new surprise. This time the creative trio went to the corner of Dizengoff and Gordon streets. It was about 11 o'clock in the afternoon. In the hands of the participants of the presentation were stools and folded banners. Having reached their final destination, the men sat down on the chairs, and the lady remained standing. At the same time, they simultaneously deployed posters on which there was an inscription: “Do not forget the Italian pilots!”

Some time later, Lyudmila took out the Panda brand pastel crayons and began to draw them, painting the ears of her companions in the colors of the Italian flag. Then the strange trio moved and moved to the very middle of the road on Dizengoff Street. After that, Roman Beymbaev put Alexander on his shoulders, and Lyudmila went nearby. So they moved, changing places from time to time, and carried each other to the very center of Dizengoff Street.

Action in honor of the writer Andrew Monastyrsky

The unusual scandal remembered the unusual action of Roman Baymbaev and Alexander Brener. They dedicated it to the famous Russian writer and poet, art theorist and freelance artist Andrei Monastyrsky. Two participants arrived by car in the morning on Dizengoff Square. They had a large yellow banner with them, the size of which was 1 x 12 m. The following figures were written on it: 48613970 2258 40023 614 783420945. How is Andrey Monastyrsky related to them and what did the participants want to express? One can only guess about it. However, the banner hung high between the trees was removed by angry people from the local municipality in Tel Aviv. They say that he managed to hang only 5 hours.

According to the representatives of the municipality themselves, this was an outrageous action, which provoked the indignation of the authorities. And the thing is that the above figures were interpreted as numbers on the clothes of prisoners who were in the concentration camps during the Holocaust.

Return and active in Moscow

After 1990, Brener Alexander Davidovich decides to return to Moscow. Here he manifests himself not only as an artist, but also as a poet, theorist and cultural critic. And it is possible that in Tel Aviv he was simply fed up with his antics, or someone did not appreciate the scandalous art of our author. In a word, he returned and, having gained some strength, resumed his far from clear activity for everyone.


So, with his participation, the members of the group “E.T.I” and Anatoly Osmolovsky make an unforgettable performance right in front of the Lenin Mausoleum. There they undress naked and with their bodies lay out an indecent word of three letters. Brener actively attends exhibitions and other events, to which he often comes accompanied by the artist Kulik, whom he keeps in a muzzle or leads on a leash. Here is a creative and unpredictable Alexander Brener. “The Lives of the Artists Who Have Been Killed” is one of his early works, which we will describe below.

What are we talking about in the Lives?

In his work, which Alexander Brener called The Lives of the Murdered Artists, he describes himself, shares his thoughts and tells about all his acquaintances in the art environment. At the same time, he literally scoffs at them, makes caustic comments, and even gives them offensive nicknames. For example, he calls Dmitri Gutov “Progressive Purgen”, Anatoly Osmolovsky - “Chairman of Revazar”, Backstein - “The Groys Diaper”, etc. Here he describes the authors who have passed away. He compares their ideal creations with the "worthless works" of their followers from modern times.

In this book, some of the names and the names of artists are intentionally written with a small letter. At the same time, between the author’s explicit attacks on representatives of the visual, less often on the writing, he gives practical advice. Also in some chapters of the story in great detail he describes the beginner and the young Osmolovsky. Tells about his cheap and dirty apartment, always drunk cohabitant and barriers to glory.

Eternal protest and a few words about the scandalous art

Alexander Brener himself speaks clearly and unequivocally about the scandal in art. His task is to draw attention to a particular problem that everyone has forgotten about. For example, one of the scandalous and at the same time memorable events was the action that our hero gave in early January 1996. He spent it at the Belarusian embassy, ​​whose windows began to throw and pour ketchup. The reason for such a spectacular event was an event that occurred due to uncoordinated actions of the Polish and Belarusian governments. In particular, when the festival of air vehicles was held in Poland, one of the participating balloons got off the route and quite by chance ended up in the heavenly space of Belarus.

Representatives of the same country, without finding out until the end all the details of the incident, opened fire on a balloon. At the same time, the theme with spy scouts was put forward as the main version. Here are just two pilots from Poland died on the spot. Without expressing a shadow of doubt that they were right, the Belarusian authorities simply ignored this event.


They did not even bring their condolences to the families and friends of the victims. This extremely angered Brener, who honestly expected a reaction for exactly three days. Hoping to draw public attention to this tragic event, our artist and raided the embassy. As a result, he went to jail, and his wife, Lyudmila, was already forced to settle the question of his release. Soon, Alexander Brener was released. Malevich, or rather his picture - is associated with another scandal, which was also endowed with a certain meaning. Let's talk about it further.

Brener's action at the museum and the incident with the painting of Malevich

The most famous action of Brener took place in Stedelikey Museum (Amsterdam) in early 1997. Under the guise of an ordinary visitor, our author went to the exhibition, where the works of the famous artist Malevich were presented. Strolling around the hall, Alexander approached the canvas, which was called “Suprematism. White cross on a gray background. Unexpectedly for all, he took a bottle of green paint out of his pocket and quickly put a dollar sign on the picture. At the same time, he did not even try to hide anywhere.

In this way, Brener showed his protest and spoke out against making money on objects of art. At the same time the brawler himself had no complaints to the author himself. On the contrary, he chose precisely his canvases, since initially Malevich himself was poor. Later, his work turned into one of the commercial products, which advertisers gladly present to the public.

Vandalism with the work of Malevich: the consequences

After a scandalous trial, the picture was restored, and the participant himself was forbidden to approach the museum building for two years. By the way, the creative was jailed for 5 months and was given the same amount of probation. According to his closest acquaintances, in this way the radical artist resolved his housing problem in one fell swoop. According to their stories, he had nothing to pay for a rented apartment. In addition, his wife recently left him. But it was she who sponsored his scandalous antics.

While behind bars, our author received a notice from the museum, where he was offered to compensate for all $ 10, 000, which was spent on restoring Malevich’s damaged paintings. He managed to earn compensation for this amount by writing a small prisoner diary, where he described his everyday life, reported on a recent rebellion, which was not covered in the media. He also sold it to several editors, and transferred the money to the museum.


This is how the wayward Alexander Brener brought the information to the society. “First Glove” is the name of another performance that the author carried out right on Red Square. As it was, we describe below.

Action gloves in Red Square

Alexander came to the square in sports shorts and boxing gloves. According to eyewitnesses, about 15 minutes in this form, the artist walked from side to side and shouted: “Yeltsin, come out!” Then he was arrested and after a long conversation he was released. The essence of the action, as the detainee explains, is to demand direct democracy. The voter, according to the artist, should have full access to his chosen one.

The book of Alexander Brener and Barbara Schurz "Bombastika": publications

During his scandalous attacks on people, Brener managed to write the following works:

  • "Bonanaz".
  • "The Secret Life of Buto."
  • "Manifesto".
  • "Japanese God."
  • "Super Vasya" and others.

In this case, as a rule, his books were published in collaboration with other writers and authors. Most often with him appeared the name of a certain Barbara Schurz. For example, both authors wrote the work “Bombastic”, the presentation of which also took place with a scandal. But that's another story …

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