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      (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Exhibitions >>

Умелые ручки

Crafty Hands

curated by Olesya Turkina and Viktor Mazin
Клуб Маяк, Ленинград
Mayak Club, Leningrad
17. 05. 1990


Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe and (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov in front of E. Kozlov's painting "The Great Le-yeh-nin", oil, canvas, 3x2m, 1990 photo: unknown. From Evgenij Kozlov's archive.

Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe and (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
in front of E. Kozlov's painting "The Great Le-yeh-nin", oil, canvas, 3x2m, 1990
photo: unknown. From Evgenij Kozlov's archive.

At the end of Gorbachev's Perestroika Lenin, the omnipresent icon of socialism, could be criticised more openly. In 1989/89 Evgenij Kozlov created "Lenin with red eyes" which gave Lenin a rather diabolic look.

It is no secret that Vladimir Lenin was both ruthless and relentless within his position; a written note being enough to eliminate people of his choice. Kozlov experimented with this authentic trait of Lenin's character, visualizing it with red colour instead of white around the iris on busts, posters and reproductions. In 1989 he started to assemble these and other objects in the "Lenin's room" — the bathroom of his studio —, which also became a location for photo settings with Vladislav Mamyshev. more >>

Additionally, he created several paintings, among them "Lenin in Leningrad" and "Lenin in New York".
"Большой Ле-е-нин" – "The Great Le-yeh-nin", was the largest of these works.

A different, more frivolous "Lenin with red eyes" appeared in Kozlov's series "Leninskaya Erotika", also from 1990, ending Evgenij Kozlov's short, but rather intense exploration of Lenin's personality. more >>




For his installation Evgenij Kozlov created a separate space confined on three sides with Lenin banners.

For his installation Evgenij Kozlov created a separate space confined on three sides with Lenin banners.
Such Lenin banners were produced with red shining acryllic fabrics and golden applications and fringes, in an attempt to copy church banners, for which the combination of red and gold is of great symbolic value. The "Sacred Lenin Banner" was a popular hymn performed by the Red Army Choir.

What is more, the image of Lenin stands in the place of Christ, a clear indication of the fact that during Soviet communism Vladimir Ilych Lenin became a subsitute for Christ the Redeemer. Accordingly, criticism of Lenin was considered blasphemy.

Evgenij Kozlov's installation carries this idea to the absurd.

"The Great Le-yeh-nin" is presented like an iconostasis, and the banner in front with the inscription Переходящее, literally "crossing the border", enhances the separation of the profane from the sacred. (Переходящее is most probably to be completed with знамия / banner, which would make it a challenge banner, an award of distinction.)

The effect of the red colour is enhanced by Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro's dress, his bright red lips and, of course, Le-yeh-nin's red eyes.

photo: unknown. From Evgenij Kozlov' archive



Despite many different uses over the years, the Moorish room of a former mansion belonging to Baron von Dervis (Мавританский зал особняка барона фон Дервиза) has preserved its splendour

Despite many different uses over the years, the Moorish room of a former mansion belonging to Baron von Dervis (Мавританский зал особняка барона фон Дервиза) has preserved its splendour.

In 1946 the building became the "Mayak House of Culture", since 2003 it is home to the St. Petersburg Opera.

Photo: Evgenij Kozlov