(E-E) Ev.g.e.n.i.j ..K.o.z.l.o.     Berlin                                                  


      (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: art >>

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov • White on Red

Five paintings from 1987





Timur Novikov and Inal Savchenkov at an exhibition at the NchVch Gallery, Leningrad, 1988, on the occasion of Vladimir Mayakovsky's 95th birthday. Centre: (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Звезда. 6 Фигур / Star. 6 Figures, paint on red calico, 211 x 230 cm, 1987 Photo: Ágnes F. Horváth

Timur Novikov and Inal Savchenkov at an exhibition at the NchVch Gallery, Leningrad, 1988, on the occasion of Vladimir Mayakovsky's 95th birthday.
Centre: (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Звезда. 6 Фигур / Star. 6 Figures, paint on red calico, 211 x 230 cm, 1987
Photo: Ágnes F. Horváth



Star. 6 Figures

A huge white figure dominates the composition: the abstract figure of a man pointing, with a declamatory gesture, towards a star. It is the same star that we have seen in the previous painting, but it has now moved to the left upper corner – a small distant star. The diagonal line of the figure’s arm cuts through a compact red rectangle, which makes the gesture even more expressive. It is an assertive, not an aggressive gesture – the hand is open, with the thumb slightly extended.

This geometric figure, entirely defined by its contours, first appeared on sketches from 1987. Combining triangles, trapezoids and squares, Kozlov designed this figure with straight lines, some slightly bent. Like a kouros, the archaic Greek sculpture of a male youth, it has a strong body, powerful chest, broad shoulders and a slim waistline. Characteristic of this figure is its small rectangular head. The sketches display a number of variations with regard to proportions: some figures are more compact, others elongated.


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Unitlted
Red crayon and pencil on paper, 13 x 9 cm, 1987
Inv. no. E-E-187073


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Unitlted
Penicl on paper, 20.4 x 14.6, 1987
Inv. no. E-E-187074

One pencil drawing displays the figure‘s body subdivided into ten black and white segments, like a chessboard. It is reminiscent of the black and white alternations present in some Malevich‘s suprematist figures. Malevich’s radical reduction of figures to basic geometrical forms might have inspired Kozlov to some extent. At least we can establish such parallels to Kozlov‘ gouaches of colourful sculptural figures from 1980.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, Мертвые Ласки Века, До… / This Century’s Dead Caresses, Up Until… (Second Title: The Outward Appearance of the Relationship Between the Two World Powers) Gouache on cardboard, 95.5. x 72 cm, 1980 more >> Photo: Hannelore Fobo Kazimir Malevich На сенокосе / Haymaking Oil on canvas, 85.8 x 65.6 cm, 1928-1929 Tretyakov Gallery Picture: http://www.abcgallery.com/M/malevich/malevich-6.html

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Мертвые Ласки Века, До… / This Century’s Dead Caresses, Up Until…
(Second Title: The Outward Appearance of the Relationship Between the Two World Powers)
Gouache on cardboard, 95.5. x 72 cm, 1980 more >>
Photo: Hannelore Fobo


Kazimir Malevich
На сенокосе / Haymaking
Oil on canvas, 85.8 x 65.6 cm, 1928-1929
Tretyakov Gallery
Picture:
http://www.abcgallery.com/M/malevich/malevich-6.html

But there are also some important differences: Malevich presented his figures as immobile stills, Kozlov presented his figures with dynamic gestures; Malevich kept the frontality of folk art, Kozlov added lateral views to front views, which allowed him show the figures in motion.

Thus, in the composition Star. 6 Figures, all six figures, the large figure and the group of five, possess the same geometrical shape, and they all display the same gesture, one arm lifted up and the other one pointing down. But the single figure, on the one hand, and the group figures, on the other hand, offer different views and possess different characteristics.

In the right half of the painting, the figure described above is depicted in a front view, keeping a solid, straight posture. Its gesture and posture are almost identical to that of Lenin on Yakov Ruklevsky‘s famous film poster for “October” (Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov, 1927).

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Star. 6 Figures, paint on red calico, 211 x 230 cm, 1987 Photo: gewis, 2018 Inv. no E-E-187116

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Star. 6 Figures, paint on red calico, 211 x 230 cm, 1987
Photo: gewis, 2018
Inv. no E-E-187116
Yakov Ruklevsky Film poster for “October” Lithographic print on paper 210 x 71 cm, 1927

Yakov Ruklevsky
Film poster for “October”
Lithographic print on paper
210 x 71 cm, 1927

Similar poses can be found in many variations of Lenin statues and monuments, for instance at Lenin Square in Saint Petersburg.On the left, below the star, the group of five smaller figures is depicted in a side view. They are synchronised like a corps de ballet, each figure slightly overlapping the next standing behind, one foot grounded on the earth, and the other one, positioned slightly behind, balancing on tiptoes.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov ART И СССP (Lenin Boulevard), object with bus stop sign, two-sided Mixed media on wood, 42.5 x 59.9 x 2 cm, 1988 more >> Inv. no. E-E-187040 Poto: Hannelore Fobo (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Untitled Ballpoint pen on paper, 20.4 x 14.6 cm, 1987 Inv. no. E-E-187071

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
ART И СССP (Lenin Boulevard), object with bus stop sign, two-sided
Mixed media on wood, 42.5 x 59.9 x 2 cm, 1988 more >>
Inv. no. E-E-187040
Poto: Hannelore Fobo

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Untitled
Ballpoint pen on paper,
20.4 x 14.6 cm, 1987
Inv. no. E-E-187071
It is a lateral view typical of Egyptian painting: a combination of frontal and lateral views rotating at ankles, waist and neck. Enhanced by the rotation, the upward movement is extraordinarily tense. From foot to fingers, the figures‘ bodies, stretched to the extreme, build up steep, almost vertical axes.

Vera Mukhina‘s emblematic double statue “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” (1937) displays such vertically uplifted arms, raising the symbols of communism, the hammer and the sickle. But Mukhina‘s figures are moving forward, while Kozlov‘s figures are stretching out towards a distant star.


 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Untitled Pencil on tracing paper, 23.8 x 26.2 cm, 1987 Inv. no. E-E-187067  (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Star. 6 Figures, Paint on red calico, 211 x 230 cm, 1987 Inv. no. E-E-187116 Photo: gewis, 2018

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Untitled
Pencil on tracing paper, 23.8 x 26.2 cm, 1987
Inv. no. E-E-187067


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Star. 6 Figures
Paint on red calico, 211 x 230 cm, 1987
Inv. no. E-E-187116
Photo: gewis, 2018

If we compare the painting with the pencil sketch, we can say that the repetitive alignment of the five figures in the pencil drawing has given way to a vivacious white-red-white-red-white choreography in the painting. It is a swinging rhythm of augmentation and diminution, of breathing out and breathing in. The geometrical contours of the red figures have been partially softened or cut with shades of white, while each of the white figures has been supplied with an additional, dreamlike red figure – thin, etheric beings floating within the limbs of their hosts. The five figures now form an intriguing pattern, and it is impossible to count them at one glace.

As in Star, motion lines keep these movements in place; here the lines are horizontal. A white rectangle in the lower right corner, originally a pedestal, constitutes another subtle detail. The large figure‘s legs are standing on this very “void”, which works against the figure‘s statuesque gravity.

Star. 6 Figures shares yet another feature with Star; the red “in-built” frame with irregular borders. But here the red borders are smaller and the contours are somewhat smoother, without any such peaks as displayed by the wavy zigzags of Star.


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Star. 6 Figures. Detail of the upper part with drips and scabs of paint.

White scabs of paint that dripped off from the horizontal brushstrokes are another element to create irregularity. They appear here and there, sometimes placed intentionally – just often enough so that we perceive them as unexpected elements. The same applies to the other four paintings of the Red on White cycle – and many other of Kozlov’s paintings, too. Like Jackson Pollock, Evgenij Kozlov is intrigued with dripping paint to orchestrate chance, but unlike Pollock, Kozlov integrates this technique into concrete art compositions. 

Such features have become increasingly important in E-E’s later works, when the artist started framing splashes of colours and dots by circles and ellipses. In this way, their function stands in inverse proportion to their smallness. In a note from 2015, Kozlov wrote: 


“Если считать (знать), что в мире не существует случайности, что следует из математики, физики, химии и т.д.

Сделаю вывод — любая микроскопическая точка на моем произведении искусства не является случайной — даже если она с точки зрения зрителя и кажется хаотично возникшей (т.к. хаос — это гармония в её высшем понимании).”

“Being of the opinion (knowing) that nothing in this world happens by chance – which is what comes out of mathematics, physics and chemistry, etc. – I thereby infer that any microscopic speck within my work of art has not come to be there by chance, even if from the perspective of the viewer it should seem to have arisen as a result of chaos (chaos being the highest expression of harmony).”
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Russian text of note on the right. English translation: Kieran Scarffe.

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Untitld note (Если считать … / Being of the opinion …)  14.8 x 10.5 cm, 2015

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Untitled note (Если считать … / Being of the opinion …)

14.8 x 10.5 cm, 2015

See also exhibition catalogue E-E WEIGHT SLEEP, p. 119
About Kozlov‘s solo show
at the Egbert Baqué Contemporary, Berlin, 2016 more>>

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov COH E-E / SLEEP E-E Central part of triptych, ink, pencil and marker on canvas, 50 x 70 cm, 2015 See also exhibition catalogue E-E WEIGHT SLEEP, p. 116/117 About Kozlov‘s solo show at the Egbert Baqué Contemporary, Berlin, 2016 more>>

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
COH E-E / SLEEP E-E
Central part of triptych, ink, pencil and marker on canvas, 50 x 70 cm, 2015
See also exhibition catalogue E-E WEIGHT SLEEP, p. 116/117
About Kozlov‘s solo show at the Egbert Baqué Contemporary, Berlin, 2016 more>>

A large multicolour painting on paper from 1987 displays another combination of one large figure and a group of smaller figures, similar to Star. 6 Figures. Its size is 171 x 354 cm, and it is entitled CuCsCaP (Сто вопросов и ответов) / CuCsCaP (One hundred questions and answers). Evgenij Kozlov’s sketch for this work shows the large figure to the left. We only see its mighty legs, suspended in mid-air, as the rest of the body is beyond the format of the paper. Behind its left leg a skyscraper appears, which helps us to assess the size of the single figure: it must be gigantic. To the right, four smaller figures point towards it.

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Untitled Pencil on paper, 18.5 x 25 cm, 1987 Inv. no. E-E-187068 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov CuCsCaP (Сто вопросов и ответов) / CuCsCaP (One hundred questions and answers) Mixed media on paper (vintage prints), 171 x 354 cm, 1987 Detail of the lower border, inverted, displaying a picture with Valery Alakhov and Igor Verich of  the Leningrad electronic music band "New Composers" Inv. no. E-E-187012 Photo: Hannelore Fobo

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Untitled
Pencil on paper, 18.5 x 25 cm, 1987
Inv. no. E-E-187068

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
CuCsCaP (Сто вопросов и ответов) / CuCsCaP (One hundred questions and answers)
Mixed media on paper (vintage prints), 171 x 354 cm, 1987
Detail of the lower border, inverted, displaying a picture with Valery Alakhov and Igor Verichev of the Leningrad electronic music band New Composers
Inv. no. E-E-187012
Photo: Hannelore Fobo

To transfer this sketch to a painting, Kozlov created a surface consisting of approximately 250 of his vintage prints of Leningrad artists and musicians. He covered these photos with translucent magenta, blue, and yelllow ink, turned the paper upside down, and framed it with strips made from black photo paper bags.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov CuCsCaP (Сто вопросов и ответов) / CuCsCaP (One hundred questions and answers) Mixed media on paper (vintage prints), 171 x 354 cm, 1987 Inv. no. E-E-187012 Photo: Hannelore Fobo

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
CuCsCaP (Сто вопросов и ответов) / CuCsCaP (One hundred questions and answers)
Mixed media on paper (vintage prints), 171 x 354 cm, 1987
Inv. no. E-E-187012
Photo: Hannelore Fobo

Using a large variety of techniques – flat silhouettes, thick filled or unfilled one-colour outlines, dripped or dotted lines, and stencilling – he then applied the figures as described above, completing them with a zigzagging pattern of stars along the upper border, several arrows, stencilled lettering on the lower border, and some other elements.

As a result, and despite its formal similarities to Star. 6 Figures, CuCsCaP is much closer to American graffiti art than to Russian constructivism, although we might just as well say that in CuCsCaP,  these two styles form a new style. The title might give us a clue. CuCsCaP can be deconstructed as CCCP and USA, and the letters are rhythmically intertwined.

How exactly CCCP and USA are related to each other is leading us to the title’s second part: One hundred questions and answers. Evgenij Kozlov gave an answer in two constructivist works from 1988 and 1989: Points of Contact depict CCCP and USA as Man and Woman, without, however, determining which gender represents CCCP or USA.

(Е-Е) Evgenij Kozlov Точки соприкосновения / Points of Contact / Oil on jute, 237 x 112 cm, 1989,  Inv. no. E-E-189031 with Hannelore Fobo, curator, and (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, photo: D.P. at Kozlov‘s solo show USA-CCCP-CHINA Works 1980-1989 Egbert Baqué Contemporary Berlin, 2018

(Е-Е) Evgenij Kozlov
Точки соприкосновения / Points of Contact / Oil on jute, 237 x 112 cm, 1989,
Inv. no. E-E-189031
with Hannelore Fobo, curator, and (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, photo: D.P.
at Kozlov‘s solo show USA-CCCP-CHINA Works 1980-1989
Egbert Baqué Contemporary Berlin, 2018
more>>



Uploaded 4 May 2020
Last updated 17 May 2020