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


      (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Leningrad 80s • No.115 >>

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection • Harvard University

USA-CCCP. Points of Contact.
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov – Catherine Mannick
Correspondence 1979 – 1990

Letter F (June 1983) – Moscow

Towards the end of her scholarship at Moscow University, Catherine Mannick made up her mind to travel back to the United States via China, leaving Moscow on 7 June 1983. Kozlov decided to take the train to Moscow to say farewell to her the day she departed – just a week after they had last seen each other in Leningrad. He announced his coming through a telegram.

    ДОРОГАЯ КАТЯ ЕСЛИ СМОГУ КУПИТЬ БИЛЕТ НА 6/6 ВЕЧЕР ТО ВСТРЕТИМСЯ 7/6 Б 11-00 У ПАМЯТИКА ПУШКИНУ
    ЦЕЛУЮ= ЖЕНЯ-

    DEAR KATYA, IF I CAN BUY A TICKET FOR THE 6/6 EVENING, THEN WE WILL MEET ON 7/6 AT 11-00 A.M. AT THE MONUMENT TO PUSHKIN.
    KISSES= ZHENYA-

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Telegram to Catherine Mannick, 6 June 1983  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Telegram to Catherine Mannick, 6 June 1983

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University



The Monument to Puskhin might not have been the most original place to meet. Put differently, it was a common place to meet, as Pushkin is “nashe vsyo”, is “all the world to us”, as Russians solemnly say, whereas Kozlov, paying tribute to Pushkin’s humour, sometimes refers to him with some affective irony as “Pa-‘pi-po-‘pa-pu-‘Pushkin” – pronouncing it with the metrical foot of a iambus. In any case, for Kozlov, who was not very familiar with Moscow, there was no risk of missing it, as the Monument to Pushkin was located at metro station Pushkinskaya,

Telegram texts were always short, as customers paid according to the number of words in the text body. But it was an obvious way of communicating quickly, especially across large distances.

USSR Telegram form, Form TG-1a, 1988. Printed at the regional typography of Kostroma Ministry of Communications of the Soviet Union, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

USSR Telegram form, Form TG-1a, 1988. Printed at the regional typography of Kostroma
Ministry of Communications of the Soviet Union, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons External link >>

The layout of telegram forms followed international standards, and people filled them in on the spot, at Soviet telegraph (post) offices.[1]  The text was then wired to the corresponding telegraph office, where it was printed out (without the address of the expedient) and delivered to the addressee. Other than in capitalist countries, telegrams were still much in use in the Soviet Union in the nineteen eighties. As a matter of fact, they were popular even among people living in the same agglomeration since by far not every household, including Kozlov’s, was supplied with a telephone (see Letter E). If my interpretation of the figures displayed on the upper and lower lines is correct, it was sent from Leningrad at 13.24 p.m. and printed in Moscow the same day, 6 June, at 14.04 p.m.

When he sent the telegram, Kozlov wasn’t yet sure that he would actually manage to buy a ticket on one of the night trains to Moscow. Just as day trains, night trains took between eight to nine hours to cover the 650 kms between Leningrad and Moscow, which made travelling by night quite popular, because it solved the problem of looking for a place to stay overnight.[2] On page 4-78 of Diary IV, Kozlov noted the train tables of six night trains to Moscow, numbering them according to his preferences (see below). He would have preferred to leave after midnight to arrive just before his meeting, but had to take an earlier train. In fact, Diary IV, page 4-82 offers a fairly precise image of his Moscow schedule:

    До 11:00 – прогулки 11:00 Катя (памятник А. С. Пушкину) Кофе в Интуристе. На метро до общежития М. Академическая
    Фотографии, фонтан у входа. Прощание
    13:15 дома 25/VI
    13:20 муз. им. А.С.Пушкина
    После Третьяковская
    Прогулки по Москве Поезд 0:05

    Until 11.00 Walking around 11.00 Katya (Monument to Pushkin) Coffee at the Intourist,. Metro to students’ dorm at Metro Akademicheskaya [Mannick’s student dorm was actually located at Metro Universitet]. Taking pictures, fountain at the entrance. Farewell.
    13:15 houses 25/VI [or home 25/VI; the meaning is not clear] 13:20 Pushkin Museum, then Tretyakov Gallery. Strolling around Moscow. Train at 0:05

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Diary IV, pp- 4-82-83 Left: Description of visit to Moscow. Written in the beginning of June 1983 more >> Right: Selected works from Grigorio Sciltian‘s solo exhibtion at the Pushkin Museum, 4 June – 3 July 1983 (see below). Written 6 June 1983  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Diary IV, pp- 4-82-83
Left: Description of visit to Moscow. Written in the beginning of June 1983 more >>
Right: Selected works from Grigorio Sciltian‘s solo exhibtion at the Pushkin Museum, 4 June – 3 July 1983 (see below). Written 6 June 1983

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University




The diary notes show that his one-day trip to Moscow was split between the meeting with his friend in the late morning – it lasted no more than two hours – and visits to Moscow’s most important picture galleries in the afternoon; after that, there was still some time left before he took the train back to Leningrad shortly after midnight. His meeting with Catherine Mannick included a coffee break at the Intourist, a place for foreigners paying in hard currency, and thus the antipode to Leningrad’s Café Saigon, where they had both met the week earlier (see Letter E).

Catherine Mannick remembers:

    The Intourist had decent coffee and it was quiet. I think Evgenij and I had been there before during a previous visit – he could pass as a foreigner and get past the guards. During this particular visit to the Intourist cafe, however, I did not drink coffee. I was quite exhausted, having spent the previous days with farewells, and Evgenij suggested I order cognac (also available at the Intourist cafe) to revive me – which it did!

On the same diary page, above the schedule, are the names of three metro stations relevant for his Moscow visit: Komsomolskaya, next to Moscow’s Leningrad train station, Kropotkinskaya for the Pushkin Museum and Novokuznetskaya for the Tretyakov Gallery.

On page 4-79, there appears yet another “art” address for his visit to Moscow: that of Maria Aleksandrovna Spendiarova (Мария Александровна Спендиарова, 1913-1993), as well as a telephone number of her neighbour Tamara.

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Diary IV, pp- 4-78-79 Left: schedule of night trains to Moscow.Right (bottom): Adress of Maria Aleksandrovna Spendiarova. Written in the beginning of June 1983 more >>  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Diary IV, pp- 4-78-79
Left: schedule of night trains to Moscow.Right (bottom): Adress of Maria Aleksandrovna Spendiarova.
Written in the beginning of June 1983 more >>

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University




In her youth, Spendiarova had studied at the Vkhutemas, the legendary  “Higher Art and Technical Studios" workshops often compared to Germany’s “Bauhaus”, and she had been familiar with many protagonists of the Soviet avant-garde. It is very likely that Kozlov received her address from Timur Novikov who had made her acquaintance some years earlier, during the preparations for Mikhail Larionov’s 1980 retrospective at the Russian Museum, Leningrad. In his autobiography from 1998, Novikov writes

    In the late 1970s, I got to know Maria Spendiarova, a follower of Mikhail Larionov and widow of the artist Sergei Romanovich. Maria contributed to my artistic education and I often visited her in Moscow or when she came to St Petersburg. external link >>

Commenting on his trip to Moscow, Kozlov says that it is possible that he actually went to see Spendiarova because of her knowledge of those times and because he enjoys Larionov’s primitivism. But he also stresses that he himself paints in a primitivist manner only occasionally, one of the reasons being that primitivism is not suitable for erotic art.

The diary has no further information about Kozlov’s visit to the Tretyakov Gallery, but it mentions the solo exhibition of Italian-Armenian painter Gregorio Sciltian, (1900-1985) at the Pushkin Museum with a selection of fifteen paintings (Diary IV, p. 4-83, 4-84). What is more, Evgenij Kozlov not only noted the title and year of each painting, but also shot them with his camera. His black and white prints are still in his archive, supplied with the corresponding information on the reverse.

When I first came across these reproductions, I didn't know where and when they were taken. In fact, I had never heard of Sciltian before, and Sciltian’s academic manner of depicting slightly surrealistic still lives and frozen genre scenes were so unlike any of Kozlov’s styles that I couldn’t see what attracted him. The Pushkin Museum’s website displays one of these paintings which is now part of its collection. Kozlov noted the title as Обманка с красной драпировкой 1965 / Decoy with Red Drapery 1965, while the museum’s website presents it as Натюрморт с красной драпировкой / Still-life with Red Drapery. external link >>

When asked about these pictures, Kozlov said that he was interested, in the first place, in Sciltian’s realistic depiction of nudes, a subject matter he would hardly have been able to see at an exhibition of contemporary Soviet art.[3]

Grigorio Sciltian (Григорий Шилтян) Венера / Venus, oil on canvas, 1974-75  Photographic black and white reproduction by (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Picture taken at Sciltian's solo exhibition at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, 1983. See Diary IV, pp- 4-82-83 (above) Grigorio Sciltian (Григорий Шилтян) Обманка с красной драпировкой / Decoy with Red Drapery oil on canvas, 1965, Photographic black and white reproduction by (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Picture taken at Sciltian's solo exhibition at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, 1983.

Grigorio Sciltian (Григорий Шилтян)
Венера / Venus, oil on canvas, 1974-75

Photographic black and white reproduction by (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Picture taken at Sciltian's solo exhibition at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, 1983.
See Diary IV, pp- 4-82-83 (above)

Below: Detail of the reverse of the vintage print with captions. Note that Sciltian's name is misspelled “Scitlian”.
Detail of the reverse of the vintage print with captions. Note that Sciltian's name is misspelled “Scitlian”.

Grigorio Sciltian (Григорий Шилтян)
Обманка с красной драпировкой / Decoy with Red Drapery
oil on canvas, 1965,
Photographic black and white reproduction by (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Picture taken at Sciltian's solo exhibition at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, 1983.
See Diary IV, pp- 4-82-83 (above)

For a colour reproduction of this painting see website of the Pushkin Museum
external link >>

Below: Detail of the reverse of the vintage print with captions. Note that Sciltian's name is misspelled “Scitlian”.
Detail of the reverse of the vintage print with captions. Note that Sciltian's name is misspelled “Scitlian”.




However, juxtaposing Sciltian’s nudes and Kozlov’s sunbathing ladies from the 1983 Gulf of Finland series reveals a fundamental difference in depicting the female body. With her posture and set of attributes – shoes, waistcloth and exorbitant hat –Sciltian’s “Venus” from 1974/75 provides an example of “staginess”, an impression further intensified by the “props” in the background, reminiscent of de Chirico’s urban landscapes. Kozlov’s figures are much less realistic, yet his beach scenes convey natural eroticism, because the artists keeps a delicate distance from the figures, respecting their intimacy.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Женщины на песке / Women on a Sandy Beach. 41.5 x 29.5 cm, wax crayon and lithographic crayon on paper, 1983. From the "Gulf of Finland” series.
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Женщины на песке / Women on a Sandy Beach.
41.5 x 29.5 cm, wax crayon and lithographic crayon on paper, 1983. From the "Gulf of Finland” series more >> / more >>.
See also Letter M more >>

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Note to Catherine Mannick related to the drawing “Women on the Sandy Beach”, the artist's 1987 NewYear present: Катя! С Новым годом! 1987! Полный Салют! Евгений Козлов 1983. Женищины на песке. 41,5 x 29,5. Восковой мел, литографиский карандаш. Katya! Happy New Year! Full Salute! Evgenij Kozlov 1983. Women on the Sandy Beach. 41.5 x 29.5 cm. Wax crayon, lithographic crayon.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Note to Catherine Mannick related to the drawing “Women on the Sandy Beach”, the artist's 1987 NewYear present:
Катя! С Новым годом! 1987! Полный Салют!
Евгений Козлов 1983. Женищины на песке. 41,5 x 29,5. Восковой мел, литографиский карандаш.
Katya! Happy New Year! Full Salute!
Evgenij Kozlov 1983. Women on the Sandy Beach. 41.5 x 29.5 cm. Wax crayon, lithographic crayon.

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University



A short note about realism in E-E’s early art

At the end of 1982, Kozlov created a multi-figure composition called “Tuaregs” (later: “Noli Me Tangere”) which he considered as a breakthrough in his art: figures acquire an almost geometrical volume through a chiaroscuro effect of coloured shades.                               

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov ТУАРЕГИ / Tuaregs / Noli me tangere. Tempera, gouache, watercolour, collage on canvas, 93 x 106 x 5.5 cm, 1982. E-E archival number: E-E-182002 Early version. Picture taken at Kozlov's flat and studio “Galaxy Gallery” Peterhof (Petrodvorets), approx. 1983

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
ТУАРЕГИ / Tuaregs / Noli me tangere.
Tempera, gouache, watercolour, collage on canvas, 93 x 106 x 5.5 cm, 1982.
E-E archival number: E-E-182002
Early version. Picture taken at Kozlov's flat and studio “Galaxy Gallery” Peterhof (Petrodvorets), approx. 1983

See Kozlov's note in Diary III, p. 3-59:
‘TUAREGS’ is an appeal to future breakthroughs in art. The technique itself must reveal the compositional concept in the work / Rembrandt's ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’, Hermitage / and not the literary part of the image which the artist can introduce through his own efforts as the author of the idea. more >>

See also: The New Artists. Timur Novikov: Roots – E-E Kozlov: Cosmos. Chapter 4 more >>




With this painting, he started exploring the potential of realistic painting for a new approach to figurative art for the late twentieth century – as one of several styles he was pursuing simultaneously. On page 4-75 of Diary IV, that is, slightly before his trip to Moscow, we find the names of British artist David Hockney, as well as of Richard Estes and Philip Pearlstein, American artists known for their (photo)realist paintings. As the example of Sciltian shows, Kozlov wasn’t interested in copying a particular artist, but in knowing what contemporary art suggested in this respect.[4]

In 1983, he began using his own photographs as an inspiration for his portraits and multi-figure compositions, changing or adding a number of details. The paintings often depart from the original source to a considerable degree, and sometimes almost completely, as is the case with the two large “Anna Karenina” paintings from 1988 more >>.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Vintage print from the “Anna Karenina” series, taken during a performance of the New Theatre, approx. 1985.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-AU14-op (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Anna Karenina 2 Mixed media on canvas, approx. 200 x 145 cm, 1988 E-E archival number: E-E-188003

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Vintage print from the “Anna Karenina” series, taken during a performance of the New Theatre, approx. 1985.
more >>

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-AU14-op

Below: Detail from the reverse of the print with inscription
Анна Каренина готовится к сцене с поездом.

is

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Anna Karenina 2
Mixed media on canvas, approx. 200 x 145 cm, 1988 more >>
E-E archival number: E-E-188003
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Painted vintage print 18 x 12 cm, 1988  The picture shows the artist in his flat and studio "Galaxy Gallery” next to his painting Anna Karenina 2, (work in progress 1988).  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-DA23-opc Left:
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Painted vintage print
18 x 12 cm, 1988

The picture shows the artist in his flat and studio "Galaxy Gallery” next to his painting Anna Karenina 2, (work in progress 1988).

E-E archival number:
E-E-pho-DA23-opc



An early example of this new approach to realism is his self-portrait from 1983 titled “VOX HUMANA”. It was first exhibited at Timur Novikov’s “ASSA” Gallery in 1984 more >> and then, in 1985, at The Sixth Exhibition of the Society for Experimental Visual Art (TEII) more >>.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Portrait of the artist, vintage print, 1982/1983  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-FT33-op

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Portrait of the artist, vintage print, 1982/1983

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-FT33-op

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov E-E-183021 VOX HUMANA (Автопортрет / Self-Portrait) Gouache, tempera, watercolour, ink and collage on canvas, 65.5 X 100.5 cm, 1983. E-E archival number: E-E-183021

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
E-E-183021 VOX HUMANA (Автопортрет / Self-Portrait)
Gouache, tempera, watercolour, ink and collage on canvas, 65.5 X 100.5 cm, 1983
more >> / more >>
E-E archival number: E-E-183021



Surrounded by an irregular border of light pastel shades, figure and interior share the same dark tones, which makes the portrait hardly distinguishable from the background. Consequently, the viewer’s attention focuses on a few light spots next to it – on what would normally be considered secondary elements: a young woman in profile, a cut-out from a magazine with another female portrait, and the two letters e-e, which were to become his artist name two decades later. Thus, “VOX HUMANA” inverts the traditional idea of a portrait – without negating the value of realistic portrayal.

Hannelore Fobo, 8 May 2023



[1] At Leningrad’s main post-office (glavnyi pochtamt), there were tables and chairs where customers could prepare their mail. They sometimes left partly filled-in telegram forms stained with ink – the quality of the paper was rather poor, and like blotting paper, easily absorbed liquids. In 1987, while standing in line to send off a letter (see introduction), Kozlov took several of these forms and created four graffiti drawings on the reverse (it must have been quite a long queue). In 2018, these drawings were part of his solo exhibition “USA-CCCP-CHINA” more >>.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Untitled Ink on paper, 20.1 x 15.2 on 29.5 x 20.9, 1987 E-E archival number: E-E-187030 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Untitled. Detail of reverse of the drawing displaying the telegram form partly filled in by a customer. Ink on paper, 20.1 x 15.2 on 29.5 x 20.9, 1987 E-E archival number: E-E-187030

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Untitled
Ink on paper, 20.1 x 15.2 on 29.5 x 20.9, 1987

E-E archival number: E-E-187030 more >> / more >>
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Untitled. Detail of reverse of the drawing displaying the telegram form partly filled in by a customer.
Ink on paper, 20.1 x 15.2 on 29.5 x 20.9, 1987

E-E archival number: E-E-187030




[2] Since 2009, Siemens-built Sapsan trains, operating during day-time, connect Saint Petersburg and Moscow in about four hours, but in general, Sapsan tickets are more expensive and night trains are still an alternative to save money.

[3] Nor of contemporary western art, for that matter: towards the end of May 1983 Kozlov visited a large exhibition of West-German art at Leningrad’s Central Exhibition Hall presenting works by neoexpressionists Baselitz, Kiefer, Lüpertz, Middendorf, and perhaps some other artists (Diary IV, p. 4-68) more >>.

[4] Sciltian’s art nevertheless did leave a trace in Kozlov’s art, as I recently found out. In Catherine Mannick’s archive is a digitized colour slide of his collage “Deutschland” from 1984, and its resolution is good enough to discern some details. Among these details is Kozlov’s black and white reproduction of Sciltian’s painting Вечная иллюзия / Eternal illusion from 1967/69.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Deutschland Photo collage on cardboard or fibreboard, approx. 60 x 90, 1984 more >>  E-E archival number: E-E-184005   Colour photography (slide) by Alexander Boyko more >> Digitized slide:  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Deutschland
Photo collage on cardboard or fibreboard, approx. 60 x 90, 1984 more >>

E-E archival number: E-E-184005

Colour photography (slide) by Alexander Boyko more >>
Digitized slide:
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Deutschland, 1984 Fragment with Kozlov’s black and white reproduction of Gregorio Sciltian’s painting Вечная иллюзия / Eternal illusion from 1967/69.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Deutschland, 1984
Fragment with Kozlov’s black and white reproduction of Gregorio Sciltian’s painting Вечная иллюзия / Eternal illusion from 1967/69.




USA-CCCP. Points of Contact.
Part 1: Introduction
Synopsis • Preliminary Remarks
1. From Leningrad to Boston and Back
2. Let’s Talk About Art. New Wave, New Artists, and B(L)ack art
3. Perestroika Emissaries
4. The End of Censorship
5. “It Seems I Need a Manager.” The Impact of Getting Popular
6. Leningrad Artists and Musicians in E-E Kozlov's Pictures
— The River of Forgetfulness, 1988 —
Part 2: Letters
Letter A (1979) – Halloween
Letter B (1980) – To Be at Peace with Yourself
Letter C (1980) – Harlequin
Letter D (1982) – The Sea and the Countryside
Letter E (1983) – Saigon
Letter F (1983) – Moscow
Letter G (1984) – New Wave
Letter H (1985) – New Composers
Letter I (1986) – Happy New Year at the Leningrad Rock Club
Letter J (1986) – CCCP-USA
Letter K (1986) – The Price of Art
Letter L (1986) – B (L)ack art • PoPs from the USSSR
Letter M (1986) – A Taste for Colours
Letter N (1987) – Part 1: Changes and Challenges
Letter N (1987) – Part 2: ASSA
Letter O (1988) – Joanna Stingray's Wedding
Letter P (1989) – Perestroika Hot News
Letter Q (1989) – Russkoee Polee • The Russian Field
Letter R (1990) – New Classicals
Epilogue: USA-CCCP. Points of Contact (Forthcoming)

see also
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, Catherine Mannick, and Hannelore Fobo papers, 1979-2022 (inclusive)
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection Harvard University >>

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Published 16 May 2023
Last updated 7 June 2024