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

      E-E Evgenij Kozlov: Exhibitions

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov


Egbert Baqué Contemporary, Berlin

4 June – 30 July, 2016

Hannelore Fobo

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov – (E-E) WEIGHT. SLEEP.
192 pages, approx. 130 illustrations
Texts in German and English

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Hannelore Fobo (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov – (E-E) WEIGHT. SLEEP

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov


Text: Hannelore Fobo.

The E-E WEIGHT. SLEEP.[1] cycle consists of two parts, each giving expression to dual perception, with each part differing in terms of material, implementation and concept. Within the graphical images belonging to the first part of his cycle, started in 2009, (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov has been noting down the bifold realities of his human experience, on a daily basis. This is what he recorded on a little piece of paper:

‘Наличие цифр в рисунках “сон” и “вес” является скрупулезным фиксированием физического состояния моего тела’ – in English: ‘The numbers in the “sleep” and “weight” drawings constitute a meticulous record of the physical state of my body.’

Kozlov has thereby preserved two substantial measured variables relating to his human existence. With respect to daytime consciousness, what is in view is the actual state of being in the material – heaviness – measured in terms of WEIGHT, this being between 74.0 and 78.8kg. In relation to the state of sleeping consciousness, what is in view is the time of day when the subject goes to sleep, i.e. the moment when his state of being beyond the material begins (SLEEP): between 11pm and 9am. This leads to him experiencing something of his fluctuating self that would have escaped him were it not for these records; to a degree, he is objectivizing himself.

These images, which are works on paper, are annotated with illustrations, and in part they form a collage; they are mainly on A4, and currently (at the beginning of 2016) they span approximately a hundred graphic works.

The second part of the cycle has been in progress since 2015, and up till the present time it consists of thirty-two individual paintings and two triptychs. To be more specific, these are canvas paintings painted on both sides that are predominantly in 70 x 50cm format. The duality within these double-sided paintings is to be found not in the change from waking consciousness to sleeping consciousness, but rather in the interplay between front/back, outer/inner, main perspective and counter-perspective.

The figurative-abstract motifs have been painted on the reverse of the canvas, and having originated here they are then mirrored on the front. The metaphors of counter-space and space are pertinent at this point: the counter-space imperceptible to the eye – the reverse – is projected into visible space, the front. Here the motifs are further fashioned, thereby generating new cubic content. On the reverse the motifs are more emblematic, more rudimentary, whereas on the front they are more complex, more lyrical. Hypothetically speaking, it is possible for both counter-space and space to be perceived simultaneously, the painting undergoing a longitudinal rotation in the mind of the observer.

Both parts of the cycle have been executed in their own particular style. Common to both are Kozlov’s distinctively elegant and assured lines, his feel for colour and contrasts, and his delicate humour.

The evident effervescence – not only of the figures, but also of the abstract elements such as the lines, circles and numbers – takes the cycle beyond a conceptual approach.

E-E WEIGHT. SLEEP. begins with technical notes relating to human existence, and subtle harmonies emerge as it progresses; prerequisite to this is an ability to develop and master an exacting technique.

Both parts of the cycle are still in progress, and their completion has not yet been envisaged.

Interpreting the Images

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 2016

I have known Evgenij Kozlov and have been familiar with his work since 1990, and discussion of art, and Kozlov’s paintings in particular, has from the very outset been a sine qua non of our interactions. It may even be said that our common interest in the question of what lies at the heart of the creative process is what has forged the spiritual bond between us. I sometimes make notes or write down particular expressions during our conversations, partly in Russian (our language of communication) and partly directly translated into German. Evgenij Kozlov often captures his thoughts on bits of paper, putting them down in a pregnant form akin to aphorisms, simultaneously furnishing them with a graphical arrangement. Both types of notes proved germane to the above introduction. They reveal both the artist’s intentions and the issues that concern him. I also take into consideration statements and comments which were not noted down at the time, but which I nevertheless recall due to the fact I found them striking, unusual, or instructive.

I take sole responsibility for all content relating to interpretation, as such. Interpretations constitute knowledge secondary to the creative process itself. However, interpretation remains a rewarding intellectual challenge with its own aesthetic appeal – especially for those who gain a great deal of aesthetic satisfaction from the work of an artist. The fact that I experience the genesis of the paintings spurs my thoughts; the golden rule for avoiding whimsicality of thought is that the veracity of the explication must be maintained. It is permissible to say that which the artist has not said; it is not, however, permissible to say what the artist would never have said.

At this point, brief reference should be made to one particular difficulty. This relates to ‘interpretation’ in the literal sense of the word, namely transference of concepts from one language to another, which in this case entails going from Russian into German or English. This is actually relevant to the title of the cycle, in that in Russian СОН, pronounced son, can mean either ‘sleep’ or ‘dream’. The decision to choose ‘sleep’ followed careful reflection, and takes on board which of the two meanings is assigned greater weight in the artist’s thinking. The process of transferral also produces phonetic discrepancies – above all the pronunciation of ‘E-E’. This is an issue that repeatedly raises its head in each text on Kozlov’s works. In Russian, ‘E’ is ‘softened’ so as to be pronounced ‘ye’ (i.e. Evgenij is pronounced Yevgenij), and doubling ‘Ye’ to ‘Ye Ye’ produces a certain rhythm and dynamic, and numerous opportunities for plays on words. Yet were a ‘Y’ actually placed before each ‘E’ in English (or a ‘J’, as the case would be in German), the link with Kozlov’s stamped signature, ‘E-E’ – which, since 2005, he has used in place of his original name – would be lost. The connection with the letter E – which has appeared throughout the entire body of work in a manner consistent with its express design, consisting of a single vertical line and three horizontal lines – would equally be lost. There is nothing to be done other than to allude to what amounts to an insoluble problem.

Yet another thing worthy of note: since 2014 Evgenij Kozlov has placed his signature before his name: (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. I have retained this ascription whenever the artist is mentioned in titles and illustrations. On the other hand, within the actual text I have omitted the epithet ‘E-E’, writing ‘Kozlov’ or ‘Evgenij Kozlov’ so as to improve the flow of the text.

Note regarding the technique used for the works depicted:

The paintings and the works on paper were created using a combination of techniques, which are described in detail within the text. Detailed descriptions of this type have not been included in the captions.

The captions refer to the title and the date as provided by the artist on the reverse of a given work.

The Works on Paper

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. СОН Е-Е (SLEEP E-E ) 29.6 x 20.9 cm 29.11.14 06.03.15

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
29.6 x 20.9 cm
29.11.14 06.03.15

The first works on paper to be made by the artist on the theme of ‘weight’, in 2009, were in the form of charts. For this purpose, Kozlov cut an A4 sheet in half, from top to bottom, leaving two narrow strips within which he placed two individual columns. The left-hand column is entitled НОЧЬ (pronounced /noch’/, meaning ‘night’), the one on the right, ДЕНЬ (/den’/, meaning ‘day’).[2] During the first two years of taking measurements, the artist took to the scales twice a day: prior to going to sleep, and after waking up. As a rule, measurements taken during the day were several hundred grams less than those taken at night (77.6 / 77.3 on 5.3.2011), with the difference sometimes amounting to more than a kilogram (76.8 / 75.7 on 27.3.2009); yet the difference was on occasion also seen to equate to 0 (77.1 / 77.1 on 24.12.2010). Something is therefore happening between falling asleep and waking up, and this involves the body almost always losing weight during the night.

The artist bridges the time difference between night and day by means of the data relating to when he is asleep, or, to be more precise, relating to the time he lies down to go to sleep. The statistical distribution reveals a cluster of values from around the early morning hours, between 4:00am and 5:30am. This means that Kozlov’s daily routine is shifted in comparison to the ‘normal’ daily routine by about a quarter of a day (six hours). Once again, Kozlov used an A4 sheet to display these values, but this time uncut. The time data either fills the available space or is presented in the form of a pattern.

The sheets contain the following corresponding titles: ВЕС /vyes/ for ‘weight’, and ЛЁГ, ЛЁГ СПАТЬ /lyog, lyog spat’/ with respect to ‘the time’ – meaning I have lain down or lain down to sleep. These are later supplemented by ВЕС ЖИЗНИ /vyes zhizni/ – the weight of life; СОН /son/ – dream, or sleep, and, additionally, from 2014 onwards, various translations such as POIDS, PESO, WEIGHT and SLEEP. The pictures are dated on the back, the first having only the year of composition, the next ones also having the day and the month, and the more recent ones having the dates of the first and last entries. The titles are sometimes also found on the back, hand-written, each supplemented by the signature ‘E-E’. The exact title therefore takes the form E-E ЛЁГ /ye ye lyog/ E-E has Lain Down to Sleep, or ВЕС E-E /vyes ye ye/ – E‑E’s Weight. In this context, E-E is actually making reference to the artist, i.e. the artist is referring to himself in the third person. This pertains to the works on paper; we shall later see that when it comes to the paintings, E-E actually performs a different function.

How much time passes before a sheet is finished and signed depends on the respective composition, or, more precisely, on when the numbers have reached density. A period of up to five months may pass between when the first and last entries are made on a given sheet. Generally speaking, Evgenij Kozlov furnishes the new work with a figure once he has reached the moment when he can foresee completion of the picture he is working on. This allows Kozlov to proceed to a new sheet without any delay.

Both the design and the layout of the entries change over time, becoming more complex and more elaborate. The earliest examples (intentionally) have a markedly soiled appearance, as evidenced by the naturally-coloured outlines of the water blotches, or marks, left behind by drinking glasses, giving the impression they were created spontaneously, or purely incidentally. Evgenij Kozlov added motifs and colours to many of these early works in 2015. On a different tack, in examples from 2011 onwards, clear geometric shapes such as curves, triangles and trapeziums are discernible, forming the basis for arrangement of the numerals. The images are no longer primarily focused on comparison of the numbers. The double columns devoted to weight are increased to three, four or five columns, and then finally done away with. In the image dated 6.2.2013-6./11.7.2013, the weight-related numbers form a maze that begins with balance scales. Compositional shapes of this nature are particularly in evidence on the red and blue graph paper employed from 2014 onwards. Taken alone, this paper provides a geometric tilt, which the artist uses to good effect, placing the letters of the title into the vertical and horizontal lines. The titles thereby take the form of pixel fonts, as seen on electronic displays with a low screen resolution. In contrast to this technical written format, the daily entries come across as being expressly ornamental. Evgenij Kozlov enters them using a pencil, mostly using special coloured pencils containing multi-coloured refills. In the process, Kozlov varies the size of the figures and the spacing between them, or draws them out lengthwise, in an artistic manner.

The outcome is an array of patterns with changing colours, reminiscent of alphabetic scripts, such as Hebrew block script or Arabic calligraphy. The vertical columns of numbers may be compared to Egyptian pictographics, in that they correspond to hieroglyphic form, in terms of their columnar arrangement. The figurative elements only add to this impression: as with the papyrus-based vignettes, what they portray has been distilled so as to leave the mere essence. In the first images these elements are later additions, yet they quickly came to form the central feature of the composition, around which the numbers are arranged. They take the form of individual figures or groups of figures, heads, statues, animal shapes, floral or abstract elements and architectural structures (pillars and palaces). Some of these elements are drawn; the figure dated to 1.2.2011 comes to mind (ЛЁГ E-E? / lyog ye ye / Has E-E Lain Down?). The figure is viewed from above, slanting upwards, such that the legs are extremely foreshortened and the feet are in line with the hands. The figure’s chest and abdominal muscles simultaneously achieve the appearance of the head and horns of a bull.

Since 2011 Kozlov has been producing stencils for his motifs, exemplified by the angel which is on skis, originating from 1997, or the figure who has sun-shaped fists, originating from 1994; these have sometimes been adapted from earlier works. The artist has shaded the figures up to the edge of the stencils using the multi-coloured pencils so that they lie across the paper like little woven rugs. Or he has employed a dabbing technique by use of acrylic paint, thereby achieving vibrant colour contrasts – exemplified by the yellow swan, with its distinctively red feet and beak, sitting in some sort of a den, overarched by a mound made of numbers (E-E ЛЁГ СПАТЬ /ye ye lyog spat’/ E-E has Lain Down to Sleep, 7.6.2014 - 27.8.2014). Kozlov has interwoven letters that hardly even strike the eye in amongst the clock times. Upon deciphering the letters, we read ‘им унитет [sic] безразлично’, interpreted to mean: ‘They [the viewers] are immune to these numbers, they don’t care about them’. Another interesting detail in this picture is the birch tree topped by palm branches; this stands for the connection between Occident and Orient. Kozlov has cropped the parts forming the trunk and the crown from another sheet and placed them into this drawing in a mosaic-like fashion.

Despite the schematic depiction, the stencilled figures are very expressive, with their movement captured very precisely. Among the figures are a variety of ambivalent creatures resembling human bodies with the heads of animals. More recently, the artist has cropped figures from photographic reproductions – sourced from his own works – and inserted them such that it is not unreasonable to speak in terms of collage


Life is a Divine Gift; So is Death

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. E-E ЛЁГ (E-E HAS LAIN DOWN) 29.6 x 21 cm 17.01.11

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
29.6 x 21 cm

Upon examining the measurements, it becomes apparent that the original title, ЛЁГ /lyog/, or, alternatively, ЛЁГ СПАТЬ /lyog spat’/ – highlighting the process of lying down – was largely later replaced by the designation СОН /son/ – ‘Sleep’ or ‘Dream’. Lying down relates to the specific moment when there is a change from a vertical position to a horizontal position, which is, in the main, a prerequisite to falling asleep. The picture dated 17.1.2011, E-E ЛЁГ /ye ye lyog/, shows a figure in this vein. The figure, having lain down, is perfectly at rest and has fallen asleep.

In contrast to the above, СОН /son/ relates to a period of time: the time between falling asleep and waking up. In Russian, this concept has a double meaning – on the one hand it refers to sleep itself, while on the other it refers to what occurs during sleep, namely dreaming. This can be compared to the Spanish ‘sueño’. We recall the title of Francisco de Goya’s famous etching, El sueño de la razón produce monstruos, which may be translated either The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters or The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters.

Kozlov covers the specifics of this double state of being by posing two questions. The question dating to 12.1.2016 is as follows: ‘Why is it that a person cannot share in someone else’s dream?’

Kozlov is of the opinion that there is no answer to this question – other than the passing observation that it simply has to do with another person – because it relates to a primordial question that goes back to the time when mankind appeared on earth. In order to answer this question one would need to know the purpose for which man appeared on earth; such knowledge, however, is not available to man in his current – material – form, for he would have to cast himself back to that original state when he was not still human in the same sense as today, and would therefore not have asked himself this question. A further paradox that Kozlov proposes is that the answer will only come to light when man is no longer around and only dreams are left.

Kozlov’s question dated 9.3.2016 links in with the first: if sleep is but a continuation of life prior to falling asleep, why does someone who is asleep not encounter the very same material conditions when they are dreaming?

‘Weight’ corresponds to the waking state between the time of waking up and falling asleep. During this time the physical laws of nature govern our being – our mass is endued with weight. In turn, sleep corresponds to the unconscious state between falling asleep and waking up. During sleep, or, to be more precise, during the dreams we experience, the physical laws are invalid, and we are not endowed with weight; we can fly, for instance. In the drawing just mentioned, dated 17.1.2011, the body of the figure lying down appears to possess this strange double characteristic: the observer senses the weight of the recumbent figure being borne by the bed and rerouted in a downward direction, via the uprights. In contrast, the figure itself seems quite transported and bereft of weight.

The pictures relating to weight and sleep together portray a cyclical event – that is to say, the regular change in one’s form of consciousness. Taking into account this particular aspect, the pictures may be counted as conceptual art, with a number of peculiarities in evidence. This might suggest comparison with Roman Opałka’s approach to portrayal of the passage of time. In his series 1965/1–∞, the French-Polish conceptual artist tracked time in a linear manner by indicating each passing day via the medium of an ever-increasing number. The first difference consists in the observation of the passing of time: for Kozlov this is cyclical; for Opałka it is linear.

Another difference lies in the type of measurement. For Kozlov, time is a derivative or function of a person’s condition. We do not know time as such, but once we have measured a person’s condition, we can tell that time exists. The difference in weight leads us to conclude that ‘time’ must exist between the measurements. In contrast to this, for Opałka time holds primacy; it is the subject, the very clock itself. Time goes on, and we count the days.

Opałka generates varying bright/dark patterns, working out gently-gradated coloured repetitions and incorporating them into his number sequence. This creates a kind of phase noise, comparable to the flickering produced by older CRT televisions, and this has a calming, meditative effect. Time is uniform and without limit. The artist expressed this by means of the infinity symbol in the title: One to Infinity.

What enables us to perceive progression is the ageing process, which Roman Opałka has captured by photographing himself in the same pose every day. What Opałka sees is the very opposite to what Kozlov sees: we learn something about people on account of time. A person’s condition is a function of time.

For Kozlov, time does not actually play a role when it comes to experiencing the process of ageing, because what elapses during the day is counteracted each and every night. During this activity, the body loses weight. Put differently, night undoes what happens during the day – in the same way that Penelope has to unravel the fabric she has woven during the day. Therefore, cyclical occurrences in E-E Weight. Sleep. represent a continuation that also incorporates running in reverse. This corresponds to pendular movement, an ‘ahead/reverse’ between consciousness and unconsciousness, between weaving and unravelling. In a certain sense, nocturnal unconsciousness is a miniature death: in Greek mythology ‘Hypnos’, the personification of sleep, is half-brother to ‘Thanatos’, death. Sleep sends us back to consciousness each day, so that after waking we are confronted by our possession of weight. As long as this pendular movement endures, death – the great sleep – is stayed.

Greater precision is nonetheless called for. It is precisely because sleep rejuvenates us in preparation for waking consciousness that we do not feel heavy once we have woken up. Evgenij Kozlov convinces himself that he ‘possesses’ weight by placing himself on the scales, thereby objectively taking note of his weight.

In this connection Kozlov said (on 17.1.16): ‘When a person steps onto the scales, they not only see an indication of their weight, they also instantly respond by asking “Is that a lot or a little?” The person is immediately concerned with him/herself. Then, having ascertained that this weight does not align with what they had imagined, the person experiences dysphoria. It is not the weight, as such, that produces this dysphoria, but seeing the reading. This is analogous to the way what people perceive in contemporary culture in general gives rise to a discordance, a dissonance with respect to the way they perceive themselves. The same applies to sleep. It is the immediate context of daily happenings [the disharmony that occurs during the day] which leads to people needing to sleep.’

Whether or not we feel heavy depends not so much on our actual weight, but rather on whether our sleep really does rejuvenate us and makes us light again – it depends on whether the cycle of being conscious and unconscious ‘is functioning’. When the feeling of heaviness persists – in old age – the time is drawing near when ‘hypnos’ will no longer overcome ‘thanatos’.

If, however, ‘Hypnos’ be cyclically embedded within ‘Thanatos’, then we must ask which cyclical event thanatos itself is actually embedded within – i.e. how and in what place one awakes from the Great Sleep (and, if necessary, depending on our inclination and our disposition in the realm of logic, we must ask how often the cycle of death and life is repeated).

Insofar as man has any concept of death not being the absolute end, he tries to fathom what relationship there is between his deeds on this earth and his life on the other side, and whether he does or does not have to be afraid of the next life. This is the quintessence of the religions, which see divine righteousness at work in this domain.

The Egyptian religion weighs the heart in relation to a feather, representing Maat, the goddess of Order and Justice (–the implication being that the heart should not outweigh Maat, who is as light as a feather); Christian iconography adopts the image of ‘the soul in the balance’; at a later stage, the beam balance came to symbolize justice on Earth. We are entering the realm where weight and mass become separate entities. As already seen, this is not simply an abstract concept, but something a person can experience every day, if they care to be attentive.

On 11.3.2016 Evgenij Kozlov entered the following remarks in his notebook:

‘Жизнь Божественный подарок. Смерть тоже.

Бог: Жизнь — хорошо. Смерть — хорошо.

Наоборот считают материалисты и незнайки.’

‘Life is a divine gift; so is death.

God intimates: life is good. Death is good.

Materialists and ignoramuses think the opposite.’

The Paintings

(E-E) Евгений Козлов photo: gewis
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
photo: gewis


The double-sided paintings from the E-E Weight. Sleep. cycle, dating from 2015, constitute a different means of expressing this duality in what people perceive.  Various terms relating to ‘weight’ and ‘sleep’ (besides other things) are indeed found in the titles of the paintings, as follows: DREAM, SLEEP/DREAM, POIDS (French), ВЕС, and СОН. However, what we are noting and comparing is not individual data entries; it is, rather, the painting technique, which seeks to provide for a duality of perception – in particular by means of the two different views of the motifs on the front and the back of the paintings.

Evgenij Kozlov begins by applying the paint on the back of the canvas, where he adds the motif without drawing any preliminary sketch. The liquid paint immediately connects with the ground, thereby transferring itself in reverse onto the front, where the motif is then continued discretely. This is an exceptionally demanding technique allowing for no error, as when liquid paint is being used, the first attempt is, due to its very nature, the only attempt.

To this extent, the phrase ‘painted on both sides’ does not quite fit, as what is involved is not two distinct painting processes, but, rather, a special doubling of the motif. This doubled space can be interpreted both as outer/inner or as space (the front) and counter-space (the reverse). The border is formed by a special white-primed canvas, which is, in the main, permeable to liquid paint in a single direction – from back to front.

We do not normally see the back of a picture. In this case, however, it has a very specific effect on the front: the picture actually originates from the back. By the same token, it may be said that the counter-space evades direct perception. It can only be perceived by the eyes via the effect it has upon the space within the (Euclidian) space that is known and visible to us. However, as a work of art knows only images, no matter what side they be on, the invisible counter-space becomes apparent – initially on the reverse of the painting – inviting one to actually perceive it as an image. The material substance of the canvas, then, forms a membrane for this image of the counter-space, through which a process of osmosis takes place – the counter-space thereby exhibiting its effect within the space in the form of an image of an image..

The Origins

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. OH E-E (HE E-E) 24 x 18 cm, 2015

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
24 x 18 cm, 2015


Evgenij Kozlov has repeatedly undertaken systematic development of the technical aspects of the interaction between paint and a given medium. This is exemplified in his major cycle from 1995, Miniatures in Paradise, in which he made use of screen printing and stencil techniques, and created originals in the form of monotypes. By refining and combining these techniques, Kozlov is able to give the compositions a new, unexpected twist or meaning, as he puts it. As we have already seen, the reverse side of the medium plays a role in relation to the composition, in particular when it comes to works on paper. Due to its consistency, paper is sensitive to pressure and damp; thin types of paper are semi-transparent. All of these qualities can be specifically employed for double-sided techniques (cf. The Angels of the Russian Field, E-E Fairy Tale and The Italian Series).

In the E-E Weight. Sleep. cycle the artist started the motif on the reverse of the canvas for the first time.

He had decided to use the reverse of the undercoated canvas, or, more precisely, the reverse of the undercoated cotton, as it possessed a particular quality (with its soft, velvety surface), about which he said: ‘The tactile feel of the velvet conveys harmony. On seeing it you feel the presence of purity. Not in the sense of a zero, but in the sense of harmony.’

This picture, which enjoys the accolade of having been the means by which Evgenij Kozlov discovered this new technique, measures only 24 x 18cm. The area available to Kozlov as he painted on the reverse was further limited by the canvas stretchers. The shapes of which the figure consists are spread out within this small area.

We see a figure standing upright, neck craned upwards. The figure holds out an outstretched arm, with the other hanging down – seemingly embracing something. You would not really speak of this figure as being human, as the arms might just as easily be wings. The soft shapes, particularly the abstract shapes towards the bottom, could be compared to the paintings of Joan Miró, as exemplified by his painting Cap d’home (1932). Another association arises in connection with the sculptures of Jean Arp.

On the reverse, the motif appears more evidently original, more powerful in fact. The motifs on the front are more restrained, as the paint is less saturated (having been filtered through the canvas); black, for example, becomes a subdued, lightly-marbled anthracite. This accentuates the threads in the material and makes the paint itself velvety.

With its light yellow tinge, the reverse corresponds to what we sense in natural sunlight; with its pure-white, smooth undercoat, the front corresponds to silver moonlight. Being indirect, moonlight obtains its luminosity from the sun. The colours come across as being softer, and more introspective.

Seeing as it was the first picture incorporating this new technique, this little work is of special importance to Evgenij Kozlov, and he gave it the title ОН Е-Е. The two letters О and Н have been cut from a newspaper and placed onto the upper edge of the picture. In Russian, these letters represent the sounds ‘o’ and ‘n’, i.e. ‘ON’, which is translated ‘HE’. This little word can alternatively be read as Latin characters to make the word ‘oh’. The title is rounded off with Kozlov’s signature, E-E, which has been stamped near the bottom left. The complete title is found once again on the reverse, hand-written.

In order to put the potential of this technique to its optimal use, Kozlov experimented with primed canvases from other producers; it turned out that they were not suited to his purpose, as the undercoating consistently did its job, allowing only a minimal amount of ink to seep through. In the finished work, the colours on the front were very dulled and were, to a degree, scarcely recognisable. Kozlov removed these pictures from the stretchers and reattached them, so that the back became the front. In other words, the front came to display the raw surface of the uncoated reverse. Many of these surfaces exhibit a relatively dark colouration, giving the motifs the appearance of having been made on wood. Having completed these experiments, Kozlov went back to the original type of canvas.

НЕ Е-Е, which can be referred to as the counterpart of ОН Е-Е, belongs to these ‘flipped’ pictures. It has the same dimensions. ‘НЕ’ may also be read in two ways, reflecting the English and the Russian, respectively. The English ‘HE’ translates the Russian ‘ОН’, thereby resulting in ‘He (is) ye-ye’. The Russian ‘NE’ (‘not’) means the exact opposite: ‘not E-E’. The two pictures also complement each other stylistically. The winged skeleton-type figure from НЕ Е-Е rests on the line, not the surface.

Exposition of the Technique and the Motifs

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Во снах ... (In his dreams ... ) 70 x 50 cm, 2016 Work in progress shot

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Во снах ... (In his dreams ... )
70 x 50 cm, 2016
Work in progress shot
Photo: Hannelore Fobo

The ‘white’ paintings in both 70 x 50cm and 50 x 70cm formats, and both triptychs, owe their origin to the subsequent period. ‘White’ is the operative term as the inherent colour of the canvas creates a high-contrast background, bringing out the colours of the ink.

The motifs of the paintings are figures, angels, heads, plant-based and geometric forms, landscapes, urban silhouettes, buildings, animals, numbers, concrete and abstract objects. They have been sketched in outline in Kozlov’s characteristically rapid fashion, using broad, picturesque lines. The way the lines are precisely laid out is reminiscent of the element of perfection seen in Chinese ink painting. However, while ink painting involves use of a brush, this technique involves the paint being applied straight from the bottle via the nozzle. The thickness of the line – or the flow of the paint – depends on how hard the bottle is squeezed. Pressing more firmly into the canvas with the nozzle during application of the paint fractures the coating and creates a fine, but conspicuous line in the middle of the strip of paint (on the front of the canvas). The resulting ridge creates a structure, lending tactility to the surface of the paint – much as a quill adds structure to a feather.

Both the manner in which the lines have been started and finished, sweeping up and down, now vigorously, now delicately, and also the precisely-positioned spots, enable the viewer to relive the creative process in a very real way. By following the curves, circles and spirals, some merging into each other, some spreading away from each other, the viewer comes to experience their geometric beauty – for example in the loop-shaped base of the heads above the torso (LIVE E-E and LIFE E-E) or in the shape of the heads themselves, as with ALL CORRECT.

The figure in ALL CORRECT, an angel emanating from the upper hierarchies of Heaven, has a lemniscate – a figure of eight, on its side, also known for its use as a symbol of infinity – for the eye area. The head is itself also a lemniscate – however one that is standing and that opens out underneath, i.e. it is modified in form. Thereunder are the shoulders, which, together with the arms and the crossed hands, form a hexagon. The strong upper body and the figure’s thighs, which form a trapezium, have been inserted into this hexagram. Nonetheless, this is not an engineered geometry, in that a high degree of spontaneity is manifest in the flow of the paint – something more easily recognised upon comparison of the reverse of the picture with the front.

On the reverse of the picture, the paint loses saturation towards its edges so that each surface or line is surrounded by a light border. In contrast to this, on the front of the picture the paint, as it flows through, spreads right to the edge, and the finer details merge into each other. It pays to recognise this when considering the fingers of the angel in ALL CORRECT, in that these fingers form coherent surfaces on the front of the picture. When the picture is turned around the fingers are seen individually in the form of graceful lines with fine edges. This is similarly so when it comes to the hands of the king in LIVE E‑E. They are formed from circular lines such that they overlap, spiral-like. Yet on the front they form elegantly-proportioned discs, the middle of which sustains a torque-bearing feature, an axle – evinced by a hefty golden dot.

The reverse side therefore preserves the starting point – that which would otherwise have remained hidden, having been assimilated by what came later. The converse also applies. When applied on the reverse of the picture, the bright blue and the dark blue – two layers of colour on the angel’s thorax (in ALL CORRECT) – flow into each other. On the front they stay distinct, the light blue, which was applied first, overlying the dark blue. In this instance, the front forges a memory of the creative process. One can therefore trace the entire course of the artistic process retrospectively. This process of reconstruction is exceptionally illuminating: one is able to perceive the stages involved, thereby gaining the ability to interpret what has been created. This is all the more so with respect to elements that have been added to the front.

We can normally only know something of the genesis of a picture if we record that same process by means of individual pictures, whether through photography or film. The desire to be present during the creative process is what makes films about artists so popular – for example the film made by Henri-Georges Clouzot, who, in 1955, used his camera to ‘watch’ his friend Pablo Picasso painting.

Interestingly, in that case too Picasso was using liquid ink to paint on a medium – paper, in fact – that likewise turned transparent when ink was applied. This enabled Clouzot to simultaneously film the painting process on the reverse of the picture without Picasso’s hand being visible. Tracking lines and paints as they are brought to bear is immensely appealing. Precisely what picture Picasso saw during the process of painting on the front we do not know, but we can assume that the compositions on both sides of the paper are basically the same, leaving aside the fact that they are mirrored. With respect to the process of the paint diffusing through to the reverse, the paper offered virtually no resistance. And we can therefore assume that both sides would have remained the same if, after having painted the front, Picasso had also subsequently painted the back.

Kozlov’s approach is distinct, in that the two sides of the canvas may differ significantly. The motif of CHIP E-E remains non-representational on the reverse side: at most, all that could be said is that the blue dot and the heavy red shading could be interpreted as an insect flying into a brown mesh (or net). On the front, graceful figures drawn with a coloured pencil and paint marker are joined to the mesh, and these figures are climbing up a steep-sided ‘structure’, like mountaineers; towards the top one of them stands on the peak, the silhouette of a town stretching away far beneath it. Both sides of the canvas bear individual scrutiny and each is, in its own way, complete.

As a rule, the reverse retains its original motif unaltered, but in some cases Kozlov has added small emphases on the reverse as well, exemplified by the fine hair and the beard on the figure in E-E OK. Each stage of the composition possesses its own potential for further development.

When it comes to ALL CORRECT, the front contains added elements: firstly, the title consists of protruding letters – and then there are the fabulous gold-coloured wings of the angel, formed from impasto spirals and triangle waves. Due to their viscosity, gold and silver inks can only be used on one side, and Evgenij Kozlov mainly employs them on the front, where they are able to form structures resembling a relief.

These structures are particularly effective in the two paintings entitled POIDS E-E (POIDS being French for ‘weight’). Numerous lines of drops have been painted from a distance in the same way as with drip painting, which involves the paint drawing thick strands out of the brush before falling onto the canvas. Kozlov took the motif of a bowl containing blue blood from a picture in the E-E Fairy Tale cycle, where it carries the German title Mein Blut wirklich gut (My blood really good [sic]). In the E-E Weight. Sleep. cycle the bowl motif is found both in silver and in gold, and in the gold-coloured variant the lines of drops lie across the canvas, cord-like.

In contrast to artists who employ the technique of action painting, Kozlov uses this technique in a very controlled manner, and then only for specific areas – as he is concerned not with layering the paint, as is Jackson Pollock, for example, but rather with imposing specific accents. In both compositions entitled POIDS E-E, the dancing lines of drops above the bowl create an upward-pointing direction of force, i.e. a force which scatters the gas droplets that are created as the liquid evaporates. The downward-pointing gravitational force, on the other hand, creates the weight of the bowl. The third line of force – perceived via the liquid in the bowl – lies across both, and, in tandem with the handles, it forms the horizontal contour line parallel to the earth’s surface. As a consequence of the way these three forces (upwards, downwards and sideways) overlap, both motifs have their own centre of gravity. This could be expressed in terms of ‘relative weight’, as the bowls do not exert any pressure that points toward the centre of the earth. In this connection it is interesting to study which additional points the artist has used in order to anchor the motifs within the image format, so that they do not float away. The title of the picture located on the lower edge forms a not insignificant anchor, and large shiny letters have been used to place it onto the picture; the stamped signature E-E is found right next to this.

One difference in comparison to the works on paper is that in the paintings E-E is not given priority as the maker’s self-designation – neither in the titles nor in the signatures – whereas elsewhere it comes to the fore in a personal way. It is much more a case of the work being endued with a particular artistic message, signified by the picture itself. POIDS E-E must therefore be interpreted as Weight is (an) E-E.

Consequently, ‘…is E-E’ (‘…is ye ye’) can be treated as a predicate that is conferred upon some particular substance or entity, in the same way that ‘…is red’, for example, is made into a true statement when prepended by ‘The rose’. Should someone wish to know why this particular picture is entitled ‘POIDS “is” an E-E’, they must concern themselves with both the content-related and stylistic characteristics of the cycle, and grasp its peculiarities, as put forth in the current description, for example, or do the same with regard to Kozlov’s overall body of work. These characteristics, in their entirety, amount to what we may call the E-E style.

Put differently, we ought to see E-E more as a predicate (i.e. an inscription, a classification or an aid to interpretation) than as a monogram. The way that Kozlov directly references himself within his graphic works by use of E-E forms an exception. We shall return to this issue in the chapter entitled ‘PORTRAIT E-E’.

On the other hand, E-E is also a graphic pictogram, for Kozlov stamps it onto the picture at the very point where it best fits, from a compositional perspective. Kozlov thereby breaks with the tradition of always signing a picture in the same place (primarily on the bottom right), adding something to the composition in the process.

In 2016 Kozlov decided that from that point on all of his paintings to which he had not assigned any other title would be entitled E-E. However, this only affects a few pictures within E‑E Weight. Sleep. because as a rule he had chosen short, concise terms as titles within this cycle. Among these are some – BIT E-E, NET and CHIP E-E – which refer to modern computer technology, despite the fact that the subject matter is not particularly oriented towards anything technical.

The best option would be to ascribe an element of technical structure to the perforation-like patterns on the front made of white spots of paint. These white patterns cover certain areas of colour which consequently appear to have been punched out, as if showing the white canvas underneath. In BIT E-E this effect can be seen in the parallel vertical stripes, located in the background, which are reminiscent of perforated paper margins. Beyond that, a pattern made of white spots of paint covers a blue petal on a luxuriantly-foliated plant. The perforation-like designs are therefore not at all restricted to abstract motifs. In SHE E-E, this type of pattern covers the circular mouth of the female figure – among other things – and this mouth really draws the eye. Patterns like this are to be found on almost all the paintings in this cycle, and when they cover larger areas it gives the composition a delicate air.

Conversely, when inks are applied to the front the contrasts are increased. In this case, there is hardly any seeping away, and the ink retains its thickness and sheen. This emphasises the exquisite transparency of the ‘matt’ colours emanating from the reverse side.

The interplay of the black/anthracite is particularly appealing. In ART E-E, palm fronds that sprout from the three trees sway turbulently in the wind. The bold black marks on the anthracite-coloured tree trunks have the effect of making them into birch trees; so we have here a tiny birch grove featuring palm tops (– we are reminded of the motif on the sheet dated 7.6.2014-27.8.2014). Underneath, the thorny climbing plants create an interesting effect: they are interacting with the curved arches of a pergola (or – taking a different interpretation – paired rib cages). The contours on the front have been delineated with greater precision, so that thin lines, cross-hatching and precisely-angled bars are all discernible. Jagged, feathered shapes can also be made out: thus a shimmering mesh of branches explodes from within the smooth, round treetop contained in LIVE E-E.

Evgenij Kozlov takes advantage of these technical possibilities when forming perspective. ART E-E and 0.1.2. present extremely dynamic horizontal depth, and the corresponding vanishing point is located at the edge of the picture. These perspectives are applied beforehand on the reverse of the picture and are softened or enhanced on the front by means of subtler elements – by the plants and cross-hatched paths already mentioned.


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Untitled (Неважно ... / ...is not what matters) 42 x 20.9 cm, 2015
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Untitled (Неважно ... / ...is not what matters)
42 x 20.9 cm, 2015

Perspective also plays a role in regard to the triptych СОН Е-Е /son ye ye/, meaning Dream or Sleep E-E, but in this case rather than a vanishing point, there is a vanishing line as used in projective geometry.

СОН Е-Е is in landscape format, and consists of three tableaux sized 50 x 70cm, giving an overall format of 50 x 210cm. In order to facilitate direct colour transitions between the tableaux, the artist has actually painted the border region underneath the canvas frame on the reverse side of the picture. He painted ‘blind’, pushing the canvas slightly away from the canvas stretcher and painting underneath – doing so in the way he imagined the paint (which was not visible to him) would flow. This procedure is also in evidence in other pictures in the cycle.

Spatial depth is achieved by means of three overlying areas which stretch across virtually the entire breadth of the scene. In the middle distance is a silver river, below this are the anthracite-coloured retaining walls, and above is a blue bridge supported by thick piers: the vanishing line.

There are numerous figures on the riverside promenade who appear to be watching the impressive-looking sailing ship making its way into the picture from the left. Kozlov left blank spaces on the reverse for these figures and then put them on the front in deep black. To the right, the border is formed by a tree in the shape of a voluminous clover leaf which grows out of a tiny cross. This cross takes up the entire image format in SLEEP DREAM E-E.

СОН Е-Е is a highly complex, mystical picture. Each of its three tableaux bears its own letter, so to speak, from the title, i.e: С – О – Н. Kozlov uses this device to return to the Russian title of the graphics. However, the СОН /son/ concept also surfaces in a text graphic dating to 2014, which is of special significance (p. 123). The artist has divided the way the creative process comes about into six stages, in line with his own experience of this process. He uses the expression ‘СОН’ in relation to the second stage, using this as a synonym for the way he perceives a concentrate – a kind of thickening – that forms at the top of the head, as per the drawing. Kozlov initially referred to this sensation as ‘поле’ (/polye/ – ‘a field’), but then crossed it out and decided on ‘сгусток’ (/sgustok/ - a ‘concentrate’, or ‘thickening’), in preference. When translated, it reads: ‘The sensation of a field concentrate sets in (and sleep – the concentrate – gives energy to the art until the end of the creative process)’.

The creative process may be referred to as something that occurs during a state of lowered consciousness, yet it may equally be referred to as something that occurs during a state of super-heightened consciousness. By ‘sleep’ Evgenij Kozlov means something apart from these: specifically, the physical change at the top of the head which is both essential to and goes alongside the creative process – the ‘concentrate,’ with the assistance of which he creates the pictures he has first seen inwardly, and then produces physically, in a state of waking consciousness.

One feature of СОН Е-Е that almost escapes notice – even though the composition started out from here – is the puce-coloured lemniscate, or glasses, in the middle portion of the triptych, which Kozlov has shaped like a pair of handcuffs – glasses being a technical aid which he finds decidedly restrictive. This shape is an imprint of an image created on red graph paper, which the artist has described in the following terms, underneath the glasses symbol:

    ‘Неважно, что я физически вижу плохо — важно, что я духовно знаю правильно.’
    ‘My not being able to see well physically [with my eyes] is not what matters – but that within my spirit I should perceive rightly.’

The Cosmos

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. BEC (WEIGHT) / (detail), 2016 note / (Если считать ... / Being of the opinion ...), 2015
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
BEC (WEIGHT) / (detail), 2016
note / (Если считать ... / Being of the opinion ...), 2015

Numerous dots framed by circles or ellipses play an important role in the compositions; this is particularly evident in CHIP Е-Е and 0.1.2 and also the СОН ЕЕ /son ye ye/ triptych, where they fill the top third of the overall surface, the area above the bridge, and the ВЕС /vyes/ triptych, where they are spread throughout. These are tiny splashes of colour which ‘settle’ on the canvas of their own accord. If they were not additionally highlighted they would escape notice. This is also the case with regard to the fine lines which have been placed within elongated sheaths.

These framed spots and lines have long found their way into Kozlov’s work. As to the question of whether their distribution be due to chance, he noted down the following, in 2015 (p. 119):

‘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).’

As a result, these seemingly chaotically-distributed dots express something meaningful. The artist has furthermore compared them to the arrangement of the stars in the heavens, which is certainly not arbitrary, and the dots in СОН ЕЕ /son ye ye/ obviously assume this role. Their varying size and brightness means they are like the stars in the firmament, while the elongated sheaths perhaps trace the paths of the comets.

On another occasion Kozlov related the distribution of these dots to the way pigmentation is dotted around the skin, and related this too to the way the stars are spread – a new spot of pigmentation corresponding to the birth of a star. To put it differently, that there is a relation between macrocosm and microcosm is, for him, a given.

We can expand on the role played by chance when it comes to composing images. Looking at it from the perspective of chaos being the highest expression of harmony, Kozlov dedicated his CHAOSE art theory to this problem in 2009 (the C and E being silent to allow for the pronunciation: ‘house art’). In this theory Kozlov describes the universal artistic endeavour to impart a new harmony to pictorial works, thereby giving them new meaning, since the beginning of the 20th century (dating back to Dadaism and Surrealism) via an associative – i.e. chance-based and undirected – approach.


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. PORTRAIT E-E. (front) 70 x 50 cm 2015
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
70 x 50 cm 2015

The cosmic perspective of these pictures is particularly reflected in the exceptionally expressive motif found in PORTRAIT E-E. A male profile is key to this fascinating portrait. The head – painted in various shades of red and brown – is tilted slightly forward, vaguely akin to the axis of the earth as it goes around the sun. The skull area has the shape of a flattened hemisphere, and a substantial meridian runs from the polar cap to the ear. The green wreath made of oak leaves surrounds the head a little above the equator, like a curved planetary orbit or a wavy ring of Saturn. On the same level an elliptical orbit is outlined in purple. The beard, with its gentle waves, extends the head like a comet tail. The shoulder area forms a further orbit, and it is the largest. This is easily seen on the reverse of the painting. The silhouette of a town that contains a number of palaces completes the lower edge of the picture.

The shoulder area provides the composition with a rotational force that allows the head to rotate around its longitudinal axis. We can imagine that this rotation incorporates both the canvas and the head that exists on the reverse, so that the heads on the front and the reverse overlap or penetrate each other. The axis – a silver cross on the front – is shifted to the right edge of the picture. The golden zigzag underneath the cross likewise simulates rotation, akin to the serpent on the rod of Asclepius.

Evgenij Kozlov clarified the concept of this movement on a sketch belonging to this cycle: a rod has been pushed through the canvas to form a longitudinal axis, with axial rotation being indicated via circular lines (p. 131). This rotation about an axis is, as a rule, relevant to all the paintings, but in PORTRAIT E-E it is obvious. This feature fosters a sense of volume.

One-point perspective, as developed in the Renaissance, simulates volume in a way that corresponds to natural vision: there is a vanishing point in the picture plane, to which everything else stands relative. Naturally, that which cannot be observed from a single, chosen standpoint remains obscured. Cubism solved this problem by placing whatever is hidden from view next to everything else, employing different views of the face, for instance. The body is ‘folded out’ in a particular manner and each view – each fold – has its own vanishing point.

In the case of E-E Weight. Sleep., the rotation that is in mind provides a new way of overcoming spatial limitations. This involves the viewer himself playing an active role: he is required to run through the rotation in his mind. Kozlov does not, however, set forth different views of one and the same body on the front and the reverse of the picture, but, rather, different modes of operation – in relation to which we used the metaphors of moonlight and sunlight earlier on in this text. Put differently, it involves antithetical hypostases which cannot readily be combined.


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. PORTRAIT E-E. (reverse) 70 x 50 cm 2015
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
70 x 50 cm 2015

Referring back to the concepts of space and counter-space, we may furnish these spaces with different types of positive or negative signs. Proceeding in this manner, the viewer creates, as it were, a third spatial state out of space and counter-space, over which it would be extremely tempting to speculate – something formed from plus and minus which does not equate to zero. A fragment from one of Kozlov’s remarks that has already been quoted here strikes one as very appropriate: ‘On seeing it you feel the presence of purity. Not in the sense of a zero, but in the sense of harmony.’

The assumption that counter-space has an effect on space may be illustrated by means of the text image dating to 2014. It is here that the artist speaks of a concentrate or sleep in the top of the head, from which the artistic process procures its energy – whilst this ‘thickening’ lasts. The thickening within this space is seemingly generated from counter-space. In PORTRAIT E-E, this counter-space can be seen to be symbolised via the orbital paths of the planets, whereby the area of the top of the head is given striking emphasis.

It is important at this point that we do not identify the literal orbits of the planets, which we see in the sky, with counter-space – as they themselves constitute an image. We should recall that the star-studded sky, in the sense of what it means to our eyes, was originally not regarded as being what it actually is. The Greek verb, φαίνομαι (phainomai) – which is familiar to us via its derivative, ‘phenomenon’ – initially referred to the way the appearance of the stars in the heavens is subject to time – ergo ‘today like this, tomorrow like that’ – as distinguished from their true essence, which includes their operative forces; later phainomai simply came to mean ‘to appear’. The stars which we see are therefore but an abstraction of what they are in actuality.

One interpretation that suggests itself is that what happens among the planets in essence happens in the invisible counter-space of which we may only conceive. It is from there that the planetary events have their impact on space. These planetary events in counter-space form the visible planets, and govern what happens to them via the respective forces – which we refer to as gravity, amongst other things. These occurrences in counter-space form the spherically-shaped skull, and act on the top of the head. In other words, everything that we see with our eyes is actually an image of counter-space. Plato described this concept via his allegory of the cave, in which counter-space is located behind the viewer, who only sees its shadowy projection on the wall. The viewer sees a semblance, which, in ignorance of the facts, he regards as the actual reality. All that is there is but an image of the reality.

In fact, people do speak of paintings as being images, albeit not in the sense of Platonic shadow images – regarding them, rather, as ingenious depictions of inner happenings.

In the double-sided paintings that constitute E‑E Weight. Sleep., this characteristic of images is increased exponentially. To recap: the reverse of the canvas provides us with an image of the counter-space, and the front provides an image of the image of the counter-space. It is essential to this interpretation that the artistic process is initiated from the counter-space and that it is shaped in space, whereby it metamorphoses, incrementally. A further argument for this interpretation is put forth in PORTRAIT E-E.

Forming the focus and centre of the front of the image is the blue, white-spotted pupil of the eye, which has been painted into the profile not in perspective, but in an elongated fashion, as in Egyptian art. The gaze is magical and penetrating. With the prominent eyebrow, the transverse teardrop and the ring at the outer corner of the eye, this eye truly resembles the Eye of Horus. Two other blue-white circles correspond with this pupil: a planet floating above the head (– a celestial eye or scarab, surrounded by a golden halo), and a point behind the ear, with a golden line stretching toward it – from that same planet.

In his text graphic dating to 2014 Evgenij Kozlov referred to this point behind the ear as the place that starts to vibrate when he experiences the creative process beginning. This is the first of the six stages immediately preceding the ‘thickening’.

We likewise see a male head in the text graphic, here viewed both from the front and from behind. Similarities with the head from PORTRAIT E‑E are in evidence: a well-proportioned head is surrounded by a grid made of longitudinal and latitudinal lines, and it is dominated by a long, white beard. This portrait is more naturalistic than that within the painting, and we may, without hesitation, regard it as a self-portrait of the artist. Further evidence for this may be seen in the way the text records the artist’s own perceptions.

PORTRAIT E‑E does not constitute a self-portrait. Kozlov expressly does not relate the E‑E in the title to himself; it is, indeed, a signature, but at the same time he employs it as an objective remark that states that this portrait contains certain characteristics which are not his own individual characteristics. Earlier in the text we referred to E‑E as a predicate that ascribes certain characteristics. In that regard, PORTRAIT E‑E is none other than a hyper-personal portrait, a portrait in its very essence – or at least it is one of the ways of portraying human beings when they are set within the context of their cosmic (heavenly) origins.

An additional drawing is visible on the small sketch sheet that goes with the cycle, i.e. the sketch sheet with the rotating canvas. This sketched picture has a rectangular format. Arrows run in four directions, going outward, away from the ‘frame’. Another formation of arrows points in the other direction – going inwards, starting from the picture frame. The latter arrows symbolize the typical layout of a picture: the forces act in a direction going from the outside to the inside, and the motif is concentrated into the remaining available area provided by the canvas. The former arrows – those pointing away from the frame – symbolize another possibility, or at least a desire for such, namely: transferral of the actual impact of the picture to the area that lies beyond the picture format. One may interpret this as transferral from space to counter-space.

It is incumbent upon human beings – in their capacity as creative individuals – to convert matter back into spirit. When this succeeds, the front becomes yet another ‘reverse’ – a primal starting-place – and the imagined rotation is no more a repetition of that which remains the same; rather, every half turn comes to mark the start of a new creative act, leading on to new and surprising images.

Such reflections can enable the viewer to both fathom and describe the subtly vivid aesthetic and the poetically sensual content of the images belonging to the E-E Weight. Sleep. cycle.

That which appears to float in from counter-space, then comes down into ‘space’ –  where we speak of ‘matter’ and ‘death’ – consists of artificial constructs. These are not visions – the motifs have not been taken from dreams – but they do possess the magic and the charm of lucid dreams that are sufficiently tangible as to not fade away when one awakes.


Hannelore Fobo, 2016

English translation: Kieran Scarffe

[1] Pronounced “Ye Ye Weight. Sleep”, the Russian original being Е-Е ВЕС. СОН. (ye ye vyes. son.) The English translation is consistently used as the title of the cycle (whereas the German text predominantly utilises the German equivalent). For the pronunciation of Kozlov’s pseudonym and signature, E-E, please refer to the next chapter.

[2] In the following, the pronunciation of the Russian has been placed between forward slashes, followed by the translation.

Uploaded 12 February 2021