(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: Portrait of Timur Novikov with Arms Consisting of Bones|
|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)|
When I determined Kozlov’s sixty-three collages from E-E Drafts as his Atlas of Ontology, I was relating them to Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne or Mnemosyne Atlas of the 1920s, a series of collage panels dedicated to the art of the European Renaissance – “…black and white photographs of art-historical and cosmographical images. Here and there [Warburg] also included photographs of maps, manuscript pages, and contemporary images drawn from newspapers and magazines”, as Christopher D. Johnson described Warburg’s panels in his book Memory, metaphor, and Aby Warburg’s Atlas of images, the fundamental ideas of which are available at the Website of the Warburg Institute. 
Why Warburg? In 2020, I visited a large exhibition at the Berlin HKW, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, dedicated to Bilderatlas Mnemosyne external link >>. I realised that the number of Warburg’s reconstructed panels amounts to sixty-three, like that of E-E Drafts, and this interesting coincidence triggered my research into similarities and dissimilarities between Warburg’s and Kozlov’s collage panels.
Warburg’s collage panels, a selection of which is presented with comments on the website of Cornell University external link >>, display an abundance of images assembled according to subject matter and meaning, thereby creating a new meaning on a meta-level. It is the same principle Kozlov applied in his E-E Drafts collages, many of which he actually completely as compositions in 2007, applying additionally features with brown parcel tape more >>.
On the website of Cornell University, Johnson explains the principle of Warburg’s semantic approach: “Warburg’s combinatory experiments in the Atlas follow his own metonymic, intuitive logic” external link >>.
Combinatory experiments following intuitive logic is exactly what Kozlov’s tables are, and we should add here that for Kozlov as for Warburg, intuitive logic is not just metonymic, that is, based on conceptual relations between images, but to no less degree based on their aesthetic or expressive nature – the form imparts meaning. Warburg calls them “Pathosformeln” – emotive formulas, as David Britt translated “Pathosformeln” in Aby Warburg 1912 lecture “Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara”.
We can state that for both Kozlov and Warburg, the panels display more than a simple enumeration of elements but describe a specific field or area (topography), and therefore “atlas” is a valid term in both cases.
There are, of course, important differences between Warburg’s and Kozlov’s panels. Besides such obvious ones regarding size (Kozlov’s are smaller) and material (Kozlov used almost exclusively images taken from newspapers and magazines), fundamental differences concern the purpose those panels served for Warburg and Kozlov, respectively.
Johnson interprets the Mnemosyne Atlas as “a belated memory palace, which invites us to contemplate Warburg’s syncretic vision of the afterlife of pagan symbolism and cosmography in medieval, Renaissance, and post-Renaissance art and thought.” The “afterlife of pagan symbolism” means that “pagan” symbols reappear in a new shape in later epochs, as shown in panel 61-64, displayed on the website of Cornell University: “Building on panels 41a and 60, Warburg explores how late Renaissance and Baroque festive art employed a Virgilian Neptune to symbolize both order and violence.” external link >>
Warburg’s comparative method thus leads to cognition “A summa of symbolic images, Mnemosyne strove to make the ineffable process of historical change and recurrence immanent and comprehensible.”
Kozlov went the opposite way: he assembled a collection of mostly contemporary images as inspiration for further works, thereby creating his own cosmography, although I would prefer the term cosmogony for Kozlov, since he uses images not to make the universe comprehensible, but to create existence.
The choice of subject matters is therefore different for Warburg and Kozlov. Here is another example Johnson quotes from Warburg:
E-E Kozlov did not determine his collages, but we can do so without much difficulty, quoting, once more, from E-E Drafts:
Accordingly, those twenty-one images from Kozlov’s collage panels I identified in his drawings and paintings vary not only with respect to their subject matter, but also with respect to the degree of transformation they undergo in a “follow-up” work. The pencil drawing of an Asian girl (1998) is highly realistic, while Love for Work (1990) and Love for the Cosmos (1990), both from the New Classicals cycle, are constructivist compositions that are not easily identifiable with the original images (unless you know).
We find the same variety in the compositional function these images acquire in Kozlov’s works. When we study the Virtuoso Reality cycle from 1996, we notice three different functions: a “collage” image may be dominating a composition (e.g. the landscape in In Paradise the Apples are like Stars), be equally important as other features (the figure on the right in What is forbidden – it can be done), or it may be complementary (the strawberries in Men’s Dream).
For the sake of clarity, we should distinguish between a feature’s function and its relevance in a composition: what I call a feature’s complementary function doesn’t determine this very feature as being of secondary importance. In principle, Kozlov considers as equally relevant – non-ornamental – all elements of his compositions.
 Johnson, Christopher D., Memory, Metaphor, and Aby Warburg’s Atlas of images, Cornell University Press and Cornell University Library, Ithaca, New York, 2012.
A PDF-document of the book is available at https://uberty.org/
See also website of the Warburg Institute. ( https://live-warburglibrarycornelledu.pantheonsite.io/about)
 Aby Warburg, The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity: Contributions to the Cultural History of the Renaissance. Translation by David Britt
Edited by Kurt W. Forster; translated by David Britt. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1999, p. 563
 Johnson, Memory, p. 10
Research / text / layout: Hannelore Fobo, January / February 2021.
Uploaded 15 February 2021