(E-E) Ev.g.e.n.i.j ..K.o.z.l.o.v Berlin
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Leningrad 80s >> ART>>
The Atlas of Ontology
E-E Kozlov’s photo archive as part of the his Atlas of Ontology
|Part 1. The Atlas of Ontology - collages|
|Chapter 1. Aby Warburg's cosmography and E-E Kozlov's cosmogony|
|Chapter 2. Changing emotive formulas: Mata Hari as bacchante|
|Chapter 3. The travelogue of a pair of strawberries|
Part 2. The Atlas of Ontology - photographs
|Chapter 4. From picture to painting: portraits of Timur Novikov and other New Artists|
|Chapter 5. An image not based on likeness: Shark|
|Chapter 6. Seeing colours in a black and white picture (forthcoming)|
|Chapter 7: Working with pictures: Kozlov, Richter, and Sherman|
|Chapter 8. Transformation and transfiguration|
|Chapter 9. From Abbild to Urbild (forthcoming)|
More than twenty years ago, (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov’s vast archive of photographs from the 1980s, of which about 2200 pictures are directly related to the Leningrad non-official art and music scene, stimulated me to carry out research into this key aspect of Soviet alternative or underground culture. The negatives (mostly from 35 mm black and white films), contact sheets and vintage prints have since become an important database for establishing numerous facts – who, when, and where – that allow to describe the momentum of that time and draw further conclusions regarding the “how” question, and speculate about “why”. (See my article from April 2021 Reconstructing E-E KOZLOV's photo archive from the 1980s more >>.)
The first exhibition of Kozlov’s contact sheets, E-E. Cult Heroes of the 1980s, took place at the St. Petersburg Archive and Library of Independent Art (PAiBNI) in 2000, and in 2001/2002, the first articles appeared in Russian in the St. Petersburg magazine “Na Dne”. These articles, co-authored with Igor Khadikov, were dedicated to several New Artists’ performances that took place between 1984 to 1986: Timur on Horseback more >>, Good Evening Gustav more >>, Anna Karenina more >>, The Ballet of the Three Inseparable Ones more >>, Pop Mekhanika / Dialogues more >>, and Fashion Show at “ASSA Gallery” more >.
Later I created a special section on Evgenij Kozlov’s website e-e.eu called “Leningrad 80s”, where I re-published those first articles and added new material more >>. Since 2015, I have considerably intensified my research, which – based on Kozlov’s videos and my own pictures – has extended to the early 1990s, and I have also included material from other archives. “Leningrad 80s” now hosts approximately one hundred articles.
It is, however, essential to understand that Kozlov’s pictures have become archival documents only in retrospective – for myself, in the first place. In Kozlov’s body of works, they should be regarded as part of the artist’s production of his resource material, more exactly, of his “specific method of collecting and structuring, that is, of producing, such resource material – which makes them works of art in their own right.”
The quotation is from my article about E-E Drafts more >>, describing Kozlov’s series of sixty-three collages from the 1980s and 1990s and some of the works related to them; in the same article, I first defined those collages as an Atlas of Ontology, of being and becoming. The collages consist of a large number of cut-outs from newspapers and magazines and played an important role as resource material with respect to the creation of further works.
In the present article I will explain the term Atlas of Ontology, and hence, Kozlov’s concept, in a more detailed manner. Describing how these collages stimulated the creation of new works in manifold ways, we will see how a new, “derived” image – a drawing, a painting – became a potential source image for yet another “follow-up” work. This is the same as saying that a new image immediately joins the Atlas of Ontology, expanding those sixty-three collages in a figurative sense. Returning to Kozlov’s pictures, I will show that the artist took exactly the same approach to photography, using his pictures as source images for painted pictures or collages that were, in turn, used for drawings, and those for paintings etc. – and that these pictures should be included into his Atlas of Ontology for good reason. And although those early collages and pictures constitute only a fraction of Kozlov’s Atlas of Ontology, even for the period of the 1980s, they demonstrate an important principle of his artistic practise – the principle of an image’s continuous evolution, of an on-going narrative progression.
These considerations will allow us to separate the primary function of Kozlov’s pictures as source images from their secondary function – secondary exploitation, or secondary use – as historical documents structuring a specific cultural period, that is, as an archival database to analyse the “Leningrad 80s”. Again, their primary function as source images permits us to consider them as works of art in their own right.
In this way, the study of Kozlov’s pictures extends to the traditional field of art history as well as to the field of image studies – “Bildwissenschaft” in German, with its sub-category of image theory (Bildtheorie), touching the question of what an image is in essence. Put differently, with Kozlov’s Atlas of Ontology, we are looking at an image not only after it has materialised as an artefact or sign, but – reconstructing its genesis – at its twofold passive-active quality, so that we may study both its representational and its creational properties. Referring once more to German terminology, we can define the first as Abbild, reproduction or copy, and the latter as Urbild, proto-image or prototype.
 PAiBNI = Петербургский архив и библиотека независимого искусства, 1999- 2007 was an institution initiated and operated by artist and art-historian Andrey Khlobystin at the Pushkinskaya 10 Art Center, Saint Petersburg.
 Hannelore Fobo, (E-E) EVGENIJ KOZLOV. E-E DRAFTS. 63 Collages from the 1980s and 1990s – and related works. 2020, http://www.e-e.eu/E-E-Drafts/index.htm
Research / text / layout: Hannelore Fobo, January / February 2021.
Uploaded 15 February 2021