(E-E) Ev.g.e.n.i.j ..K.o.z.l.o.v Berlin
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Die Sammlung 2x3m >>
(E-E) EVGENIJ KOZLOV ‘The Collection 2 x 3 m’
Curator: Hannelore FoboText and Documentation: Hannelore Fobo, May 2019
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov at the Exhibition on Palace Bridge, Saint Petersburg, on the night from the 22nd to the 23rd of July 1990. Six of the exhibibited works constitute the beginning of Kozlov's Collection 2x3m: two at the top of the left column (Oleg Kotelnikov, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe) and four at the top of the right column (Ivan Sotnikov, Vladislav Gutsevich, Elena Bogdanova and Vyacheslav Mogilevsky).
The Collection 2x3m – The Concept
Born in Leningrad in 1955, Evgenij Kozlov, who works under the artist name ‘E-E’, was one of the leading artists of the Leningrad avant-garde of the 1980s. (Kozlov about "The New Artists”, 2010 >>)
In 1990, as the Soviet Union was facing a political crisis of unprecedented magnitude, he laid the foundation for an extraordinary collection of Russian art: The Collection 2x3m. This collection was to serve a double purpose: to demonstrate that power could not rule over spirit forever and to reestablish ‘Art from Leningrad’ as a concept – a brand.
As a rule, art collections are known by the names of the collectors or the institutions they belong to: The Shchukin Collection, The Morozov Collection (both now belong to the Pushkin Museum and the Hermitage), The National Gallery Collection, Berlin. By contrast, the name The Collection 2x3m refers to the concept it is based on.
The beginning of The Collection 2x3m. Left: Oleg Kotelnikov Still-Life at +90˚; right: Ivan Sotnikov Christmas Smile; on the floor: Elena Bogdavona Sunspot
In reaction to the censorship of the Soviet times, the young Leningrad art scene of the 1980s had created, together with the music scene, its own microcosm, which encompassed many different artistic trends and attracted artists from other regions and republics of the Soviet Union (the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, etc.).
The Collection 2x3m shows this diversity in a powerful way, as a grand narrative. It comprises more than forty works by members of the best-known Petersburg art groups of the eighties and nineties: The New Artists, Necrorealists, Mitki, The School of Engineers of Art, and Neoacademists. Besides, it boasts a number of independent artists, such as Bob Koshelokhov, who played a significant role in the so-called unofficial Leningrad art since the 1970s, or Vadim Sadovnikov, a rocker and priest discovered by Kozlov. In Oleg Kulik, it also has an outstanding representative of Moscow conceptualism. Kozlov hopes to complete The Collection 2x3m with works by other Moscow artists as well.
The fourth exhibition of The Collection 2x3m, partial view.
Good-bye to Leningrad – Welcome to Berlin
Entrance to building C at Chausseestrasse 34/35, Berlin. On the upper floor was (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov's studio RUSSKOEE POLEE / DAS RUSSISCHE FELD Nr 2 – The Russian Field No 2 or – simply – The Russian Field (1994-2008). Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 1990s.
Evgenij Kozlov developed the collection in the 1990s. Since 1994, this process took place in his Berlin studio The Russian Field No. 2, which we opened together. We first met in Leningrad in 1990, and since 1991 I have been the curator of The Collection 2x3m. Thus, two periods can be identified in the collection’s development: the beginning of The Collection 2x3m in the Leningrad studio The Russian Field, which Kozlov had to give up in 1991, and its continuation in the Berlin studio The Russian Field No. 2 (1994–2008), where we held the third and fourth exhibition of The Collection 2x3m in 1994 and 1995, respectively.
The creation of The Collection 2x3m was determined by three factors: the microcosm of the Leningrad art scene, the charisma of one of its principal figures, who had a grand vision for Russian art, and the late stage of perestroika, when the old restrictions of the Soviet era were no longer relevant and the new capitalist ones had not yet taken effect. The Great Le-ye-nin (1990), Kozlov's own contribution to The Collection 2x3m, was a farewell to the Soviet era: Lenin's red eyes symbolize the ruthlessness with which Lenin and his comrades ‘reshaped’ the Russian society, regardless of the casualties.
Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe and (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov at the opening of the exhibition Умелые ручки / Skilled Hands at the Mayak Club, Leningrad, 17 May 1990. Left Kozlov's The Great Le-yeh-nin. more >>
For Berlin, too, the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall were amazing years of transition: art initiatives flourished unimpeded in vacant houses that were not immediately put up for sale. In a disused factory in Chausseestraße 35, in former East Berlin, Evgenij Kozlov found a new artistic home in 1994. Here we could once again receive Petersburg artists, as well as continue with The Collection 2x3m and display it. Moreover, we established The Russian Field No. 2 as a meeting place for the Russian-German art and cultural scene with exhibitions, concerts, parties, fashion shows, etc. more >>, until gentrification reached the northern area of Berlin-Mitte and we had to close the studio in 2008.
The press and the public had high expectations for the nineties, hoping for a kind of revival of the Russian Berlin of the 1920s. As early as January 1995, articles appeared in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune about (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, The Russian Field, and The Collection 2x3m. The Berliner Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel and the art magazine art soon followed suit. On the occasion of the fourth exhibition of The Collection 2x3m in December 1995, the Sender Freies Berlin reported on our initiative to lay the foundation for a Berlin Museum of Russian Art with this collection; in February 1996, the art magazine art covered this topic as well.
The article in the art magazine art from February 1996 presents The Collection 2x3m with the headline ‘Eine Performance lieferte den Grundstock für die Sammlung’ (A Performance Laid the Foundation for the Collection). The headline was probably inspired by the Hannelore Fobo's picture displaying Evgenij Kozlov and Andrey Khlobystin with the paper sculpture Shadow from 1994, Khlobystin's donation to Kozlov's Collection 2x3m. Yet only in 1995 a work for the collection was in fact created during an art performance: Oleg Maslov and Viktor Kuznetsov painted it during the opening of the fourth exhibition of The Collection 2x3m (see picture below).
Only the future will show whether Kozlov's Collection 2x3m will be able to broaden the Western view of contemporary Russian art. And in the meantime, the artists of The Collection 2x3m hold solo exhibitions in large institutions. For example, we can mention Babi Badalov's For the wall, for the world at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2016) or Vita Buivid's retrospective at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2016). As for Kozlov himself, he participated in the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
Works by these and other artists of The Collection 2x3m are housed in major private collections and museums, including the Tate Gallery and Centre Pompidou, both of which are building a department of contemporary art from Russia.
The Collection 2x3m in a nutshell
• With The Collection 2x3m artist (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov ostentatiously took the responsibility for art from the state and gave it back to its producers.
• The Collection 2x3m shows representatives of the most important artistic movements of the St. Petersburg art scene of the 1980s and 1990s.
• It includes 44 works by 42 artists that date from between 1990 and 1999 and mostly measure 2x3m (or 3x2m). Eleven of them were produced in Kozlov's Leningrad and Berlin studios. A few works were created without relation to this project and then selected for the collection by the artists themselves.
• The latter category includes Bob Koshelokhov's painting, which was created already in the late 1980s and, measuring 320 x 540 cm, is the largest work of the collection.
• The works are executed in different techniques, mostly oil or acrylic on canvas, but also include photographs and works on paper and fabric.
• The paintings are in Berlin. Two additional paintings are at the moment still in St. Petersburg.
• The Collection 2x3m and the process of its creation are well-documented, and so is the history of its losses. A third category is made up of works that were painted for the collection but never actually became part of it.
• There have been four exhibitions so far: in 1990 (Leningrad), 1991 (Nantes, France), 1994 (Berlin), and 1995 (Berlin).
• (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov aspires to expand The Collection 2x3m. His goal is to convert it into a museum collection.
Translation from the German: Tatiana Ziulikova
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov and Timur Novikov with Novikov's work from 1995 for The Collection 2x3m. Berlin, 1996.
The Collection 2x3m: List of works and other links >>
A detailed description in seven chapters is available in German >>
|Uploaded 17 May 2019
Last updated 12 July 2019