Evgenij Kozlov ‘Miniatures in Paradise’ 1995 page 3
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The Sixteen Miniatures
Like the Rottweil flag, the large Miniatures were all made with stencils. In favour of a graphic look, Evgenij Kozlov abstained from additional painterly devices he used in the medium Miniatures. Once again, each Miniature came with two corresponding prints, the first one richer and the second more translucent. The paper was only 160 cm wide but the fabric was 200 cm wide, so we had to glue additional strips on the sides – one on each side, for the sake of symmetry.
The entire cycle of large Miniatures comprises 58 works: sixteen Miniatures on fabric, sixteen first prints on paper, sixteen second prints on paper, and ten stencils. The fabric for the banners came in four different colours: white, golden yellow, yellow-green, and blue. The artist chose fabrics and paints according to the inspiration he wanted to transmit through each particular work. This is especially evident in the first twelve Miniatures, which come in pairs. Each pair shares the same subject in different manifestations, one ‘female’ and one ‘male’. Such ‘paired Miniatures differ in colour, and the corresponding images are arranged either in different patterns or as mirror images. Furthermore, differences in the colour palette and the application of stencils may produce different horizontal and vertical centres of gravity within the ‘pair’. For example, in Miniatures 5 and 6, additional triangles placed on the vertex angle of an isosceles triangle create arrows and change the direction of the compositional structure.
Miniatures 13–15 are single pieces. The sixteenth and final Miniature has the exhibition’s title and the artist’s name. With the exception of the final Miniature, the original titles are in Russian and are quoted in the text with their English translation. The artist numbered the Miniatures from one to sixteen, and the number is also part of the title. For example, the full English title of Miniature 10 would be Miniature no. 10: The Mirror of the Airborne Vision. Shortened titles are used in the text for the sake of readability.
For Miniatures 1 and 2, Evgenij Kozlov used the image of a man holding a woman in mid-air, mentioned above. Here, however, we see a sun instead of a cloud. Another change can be noticed in the way the outstretched arms touch. They are crossed, touching each other diagonally, like the ‘fate of bodies’, crossed scissor blades, or a cross. The V-shaped upper opening between the arms forms a sort of vessel, which embraces the sun like petals embrace a pistil. At the bottom, both Miniatures terminate in the skyline of St. Petersburg.
Miniature 1, The Dream Appears in Heaven, is blue on yellow. Its mirror image is Miniature 2, In Paradise the Apples are like Stars, which is red on white
For Miniatures 3 (The Red Point. Pleasant and Magical.) and 4 (The Yellow Point. Of Iron and Welcome.), Evgenij Kozlov chose an image that he had been developing since 1994 and later used in his studio’s logo. It shows a giant with a city skyline between his legs. The city casts a long shadow. The giant’s upper body is bent far to the side, as if repressing an impulse concentrated in his fists, symbols of strength. Below his waist is a short skirt formed by a girded smock, which reflects traditional Russian dress. Perhaps he is the city’s guardian spirit. At the bottom of the Miniature, another figure moves across the city. Here, the circular energy centres are not attached to the arms, but mounted on the head. We used this image for a small print run made with the relief printing technique.
The other works have no immediate precursors.
Miniatures 5 (Paradise in Miniature) and 6 (You Cannot Command Your Heart) are the first to employ the image of an angel standing on a column. The column tapers downwards and its spire is aligned with the spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which rises from the city’s skyline at the bottom of the painting. The column and church spire create the banner’s vertical line. The transition between the two spires is in the lower part of the composition, where it takes the form of a joint. This joint is created by the ball-shaped fists of two male figures in profile which frame the church spire. Together with two triangular beams, their fists also build up a horizontal line, thus creating the centre of gravity from which the composition radiates. Five rays that look like elongated triangles spring upwards from this joint, four of them ‘carrying’ small figures at their upper ends. The figures are gracefully balancing on the pedestals like ballet dancers.
The middle ray is the angel’s column mentioned above. It ends in the top fifth of the painting, where it pierces a cloud. The angel seems to grow out of the column. However, one might just as well say that the ‘ray’ of the column extends from the angel downwards, connecting the angel and the earth. There are seven other angels on the sides, who are overshadowed by the central angel’s size and posture.
It is quite interesting to see how Evgenij Kozlov breaks the symmetry of the composition. The left and the right half of the painting do not completely mirror each other, and none of the figures has an exact double. The same can be said of the city’s skyline, the ornaments, and the frame. This is especially clear in the group of angels, where the central figure, with one wing raised and the other outstretched, is directing the heavenly hosts, attuning them to himself. The angels have their own movements: beating their wings, keeping them outstretched, or bending them. The angels’ torsos and wings jut out of the cloud. Below their torsos, the lower part of each figure is cut out of the cloud, exposing the painting’s background. This creates a positive–negative effect that intensifies the angels’ movement. Although the centre of gravity is situated at the bottom of the painting, it is the vitality of the heavenly assembly that attracts the viewer’s attention.
In Miniatures 7 (The Angel of the Great Star) and 8 (The Heavenly Angel), the Victory Column is depicted twice: first, as a full-size angel above the Great Star square with its five radial lines, which correspond to the five streets that converge there and second, as a small monument with a typical base, portico, and column shaft crowned with the victory angel.
The large angel balances the small monument in its raised hand. The monument is surrounded by a radiant halo, which echoes the jagged edges of the large angel’s wings. In the background, the skyline of St. Petersburg can be seen again.
A strong emphasis is placed on the large angel’s heart: marked with a circular cut-out, it immediately catches the eye. We usually find such circular cut-outs in the figures’ heads, where they represent the face. These small square heads, harmoniously set on the shoulders, also originate in the 1988 images.
The next pair of Miniatures – 9, Miniatures in Paradise, and 10, The Mirror of the Airborne Vision – shows a dancing couple that Evgenij Kozlov used in many small Miniatures.
The woman is either kicking the spire of the city’s skyline or – in another interpretation – is bending it with her foot. Either way, it seems to be elastic enough to spring up again immediately. Above the two figures, there is a rotating sun disc that takes their movement up and intensifies it.
The group of figures occupies one third of the painting. In Miniature 9, the group is situated at the top. Below, we see a falling angel with mighty feathers framed by Ionic columns. His upper body and arms, outstretched as if in an attempt to break his fall, are reflected in an oval, perhaps a water surface. However, this body of water is situated below the columns, i.e. well below the ground. The image of the fallen Lucifer immediately comes to mind, especially since the angel is black. In this case, the dancing figures are a heavenly couple expressing joy.
Yet the angel’s reflection in the oval has a different posture, with his arms open in a gesture of blessing.
Miniature 10 shifts the group of figures down, rotates the falling angel 180 degrees and places him above the dancing couple. Here the angel is white and the dancing couple is red instead of yellow. The couple is playing on the ground, reaching for the sun disc. The heavenly region with the ascending angel begins above the sun. The uppermost layer with the reflecting oval is also red.
Miniatures 11, The Affectionate Fires of Petrodvorets, and 12, Feminine Life – Masculine Dream, have a meditative character to them. The central part of the painting is occupied by a dome on high stilts, inspired by one of Berlin’s water towers. At the top of Miniature 11, there is a figure of a man whose posture echoes the dome’s shape. Below, the painting is completed by a figure of a woman standing on her head and her legs supporting the main pillars of the domed tower. Miniature 12 mirrors the image both horizontally and vertically, so that the woman is standing above and the man is lying below. On one hand, the domed tower separates the two; on the other, it creates a tension between them that demands to be overcome. The tower is a third element that affects the relationship between the man and the woman.
Miniature 13, The Celestial Skyscraper, begins the sequence of three single pieces. This Miniature also employs the image of a rotating sun disc but cuts out its interior to make a ring, which has a dancing figure inside.
Like the figures in Miniatures 11 and 12, this one has wing-like arms and human legs, and thus is difficult to define. There are two such rings. The third one, situated in the lower third of the painting, has a yellow sun inside it. A figure grows out of this ring and another one jumps over it. At the bottom, we again see the silhouette of St. Petersburg. Evgenij Kozlov describes the connection in this way: ‘In the final stage, when man has become pure energy and moves on, a force comes out of the ring. This force is yellow, too. This force and the city will have something in common’ 
The rings are placed in a zigzag, one above the other, and this shifted sequence is further accentuated by the intrusion of black triangles. At the top, the image is incomplete. One can imagine that the Celestial Skyscraper goes farther upwards, like a stairway to heaven. There is another statement by the artist about this:Human beings gradually move from one state into another. Their souls grow; they become more perfect and sublime. And humans overcome some barriers along the way – those that are able to, of course. And here you can see, in a very reduced form, how they overcome these barriers and go to paradise.
Miniature 14 is the graceful Light Eve. Eve is hovering above the earth, which is again indicated with a city skyline, although a rather abstract one. What suggested buildings before has now become a wave formation – or rather, a mountain range with valleys going up and down like waves between peaks. Above this mountain range, but still below Eve, we see the Great Star – the five rays – and the Victory Column, also quite abstract, as an angular spiral spinning upwards into the air.
Eve, dark green against a yellow background, has a cut-out on her chest. It has the shape of a parallelogram with one of its vertices pointing downwards: the heart. This geometrical opening in the upper body allows an upwards extension of the diagonals that begin at the thighs. The diagonals intersect at the navel, where they are crossed by a narrow circular segment that lies in the horizontal plane: Eve’s skirt. Thus, the crossing point at the navel is the centre of a six-pointed star. Its rays break at the shins and feet as well as at the arms and head. A red aircraft in the upper right corner complements the figure. It flies in two directions at once: upwards and right (out of the painting) and also left. Four irregular red quadrangles ‘fall’ out of its left tip towards Eve’s head, connecting the aircraft with the figure. The artist said that these quadrangles represent either the information that Eve receives or the information that Eve transmits.
In the female figure from Miniatures 1 and 2, the circular segment of the skirt is situated below the waist. Therefore, its centre of gravity is formed by two intersecting lines. In Miniature 14, it is the third line that lends Eve her levity: she has created her own horizon within herself. The other two lines, which function as the painting’s diagonals, are emphasized by two birch trees. They grow out of the Great Star, intersect behind Eve and reach the top edge of the painting. Here, this classic Russian tree has branches that resemble palm branches. Evgenij Kozlov calls them ‘Russian birches on Mars’. On both sides of the composition, catkins hang from the tip of a branch. Depicted as female figures, they are executed like Chinese calligraphy. With curvy, well-built shapes and ends that taper to points, they differ significantly from the geometrical forms of the other figures. Although relatively small, these catkins are an essential element of the composition, graceful and full of charm.
The cycle ends with Miniature 15, Adam’s Millstones.
Adam also has a rectilinear cut-out that marks his heart, but this time it is a trapezoid. His body, unlike Eve’s, is not horizontally emphasized. Instead, Adam’s waist is accentuated by two halved, five-pointed stars that protrude from the painting’s edges. While Eve creates a sort of canopy over the painting with six radial lines, Adam’s girdled waist reveals a breaking point where the composition is about to crack. Then the lower and upper body may fall to the ground, and, perhaps, it is this heaviness that is expressed in the title.
Miniature sixteen has the exhibition’s title – above in English, Miniatures in Paradise, and below in German, Miniaturen im Paradies. In between, there is the artist’s vertical signature, E. Kozlov, in geometrically designed Roman characters – his usual signature at that time. It is also at the bottom of the other Miniatures, with the exception of 15, which is unsigned.
 This and other quotes by E. Kozlov are from the film by Ingrid Molnar ‘Evgenij Kozlov: Miniatures in Paradise’, Floating Film Productions, 1995