(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

Text and Research: Hannelore Fobo, 2021/2024

Letter I (1986) – Happy New Year at the Leningrad Rock Club

previous page: Letter H (1985) – New Composers

next page: Letter J (1986) – CCCP-USA



Letter I (Spring 1986) – Happy New Year at the Leningrad Rock Club

Letter I is incomplete, and hence, there is no date, but considering the references to Catherine Mannick’s letters (Letters 32, 33, and 34), it was probably written some time in spring 1986.

On the cover of Letter I is Kozlov’s painted picture from a Pop Mekhanika performance at the Leningrad-Rock Club on 27 December 1985; it was later called The New Year Concert or Hunting for the Indo-Tibetan Goat  (Новогодний концерт или Охота на дикого индо-тибетского козла). The concert accompanied the opening of “Happy New Year” (or vice versa), the first large-scale exhibition of the New Artists, some of whom also performed on stage. The picture is signed with transfer (Letraset) letters: катя С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ, женя / katia, Happy New Year, zhenia. As often in his letters, Kozlov used the short forms of Catherine and Evgenij (Yevgueni). Seven more pictures in Mannick’s archive belong to the same letter, four displaying the performance and three of Kozlov’s exhibits. 

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  катя С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ, женя / katia, Happy New Year, zhenia Coloured vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985. Letter I to Catherine Mannick, top page of folded card, spring 1986  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH66-opc

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

катя С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ, женя / katia, Happy New Year, zhenia
Coloured vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985.
Letter I to Catherine Mannick, top page of folded card, spring 1986

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

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH66-opc



In the nineteen-eighties, the Leningrad Rock Club (1981-1991), Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics, 1984-1995; see also Letter G >>) and the New Artists (1982-1989) were key terms of the Leningrad underground scene as it was fighting for an existence between state (and KGB) control and unlimited creativity. The exhibition “Happy New Year” brought these three together. Interestingly, Kozlov simply speaks of a “new exhibition”, “selected artists” and a “concert of modern music” and doesn’t mention the venue at all. He probably took into account that his letters might be read before leaving the country, and this must have caused him not to provide names.

The event was particularly significant for the New Artists, as the Rock Club provided them with an opportunity to demonstrate their talent to a wider audience. The Rock Club was actually a branch of the LMSDT, the Leningrad Inter-Union House of Amateur Culture,[1] and used the premises of the LMSDT located right in the centre of town, in a turn-of-the-century theatre at 13, Rubinshtein street more >>.

The concert and exhibition have already been quite well documented previously. In 2001, I published Igor Khadikov’s notes on the concert more >>, based on some of Kozlov’s pictures and on Novikov’s article from 1986, The Festival of Arts (“Праздник искусств”, also The Celebration of Arts), written under Novikov’s pseudonym Igor Potapov External link >>. In 2017 / 2018, I followed up with a detailed description of the concert more >> and exhibition more >> presenting Kozlov’s pictures (about one hundred photographs, both colour and black and white), Timur Novikov’s manuscript catalogue more >>, and Alek Zander’s review of the concert in Roksi, Leningrad’s samizdat music review more >>.

Evgenij Kozlov discusses both events in his letter. However, the larger part of the letter, or, more precisely, of the available text, is dedicated to an attempt to define the undefined situation with his American friend. While Mannick admits of her contradictory feelings, Kozlov tries to convince her of the seriousness of his commitment, which includes the possibility of starting a family. In his opinion, the situation would be different if they were to meet more often – letters are no substitute for encounters. He again offers his support and understanding of her situation and makes it clear that he would never restrict her freedom. Yet he seems to consciously overlook the fact that his friend, in one of her preceding letters, had told him – as delicately as possible – that she had recently engaged herself with someone and that she felt happy in this relationship.

The artist then transitions to the next point.

    Here, Katya, I have collected for you some "Wild and crazy" examples of Leningrad creativity, but, of course, not all. (Page 2)

Kozlov uses the English words “Wild and crazy”, and he explains in detail why they actually describe the situation quite well.

    There was a new exhibition, but already with selected artists — very modern, only artists representing fresh trends. Fans of traditional art either didn't understand anything or didn’t care at all — very cool, don't you think so? Collectors didn't buy anything — they were too poor and only asked for some gifts, while museums are also poor, but unlike collectors, they don't know anything about contemporary art. (Page 3)

“Happy New Year” gathered works by twelve artists of whom, retrospectively, ten were considered New Artists – Sergei Bugaev, Valery Cherkasov, Kirill Khazanovich, Oleg Kotelnikov, Evgenij Kozlov, Andrey Krisanov, Timur Novikov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Ivan Sotnikov, and Evgeny Yufit. At this point, the group had attracted more members and was about to consolidate its identity. The other two artists, Nataliya Batishcheva and Arkady Tager, were guests.

Using the term “selected artists”, Kozlov implicitly refers to a complicated process of establishing the New Artists as a progressive group of artists, setting them apart not only from mainstream artists, but also from “unofficial” artists of the older generation. This included esteemed artists like Bob Koshelokhov and Solomon Rossin (Rozin), considered as “neo-expressionists”. Kozlov’s pictures of the so-called “meeting of the expressionists” in 1983 or 1984 show, next to Koshelokhov and Rossin, several New Artists, as well.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  The Meeting of Expressionists, 1983 or 1984 From left to right, front: Solomon Rossin and Bob Koshelokhov. Second row: Natalia Batishcheva, Alik Tager, Timur Novikov, Ivan Sotnikov, VadimOvchinnikov, Oleg Kotelnikov. Detail of “CCCP”, mixed media, photo collage and spray on fibreboard, 82.5 х 60, 1984/1986  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH66-opc

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

The Meeting of Expressionists, 1983 or 1984
From left to right, front: Solomon Rossin and Bob Koshelokhov.
Second row: Natalia Batishcheva, Alik Tager, Timur Novikov, Ivan Sotnikov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Oleg Kotelnikov.
Detail of “CCCP”, mixed media, photo collage and spray on fibreboard, 82.5 х 60, 1984.

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH66-opc

It appears that the exhibition at the Rock Club was originally planned with artists from that meeting, but it had to be postponed. As a result, the line-up of artists changed. In “The Festival of Arts”, Timur Novikov writes:

    Unfortunately, the new expressionists, whose school is especially strong in Leningrad (B. KOSHELOKHOV, E. FIGURINA, A. ROZIN), could not take part in the exhibition as planned, of the group only Arkady TAGER was represented, but the New Artists really went to town.

    К сожалению, в выставке не могли принять участие запланированные новые экспрессионисты, школа которых особенно сильна в Ленинграде (Б. КОШЕЛОХОВ, Е. ФИГУРИНА, А. РОЗИН), из них остался только Аркадий ТАГЕР, зато новые художники развернулись вовсю External link >>.

To understand the principle of those fresh trends, it pays to look at Kozlov’s exhibits described in the letter. In this respect, it is interesting to read about not only what was displayed, but even more so, what he wasn’t allowed to show. The pictures he sent in his letter are numbered а, б, В [2] to relate them to his text. A and B were taken in his studio, while б is from a performance with the New Composers at the Rock Club.

    I showed three paintings, as well as two graphics [works on paper] – portraits in a realistic style. Two of the paintings have a common title, of course a funny one: “The Horror Stories of Bourgeois Cinema”. One is called “Cinema”, the other one “Animated Films”. “Animated Films” is in a, but I don’t yet have a picture of “Cinema”[3] (it is in a private collection). Painting б is several metres long and has a provisional title, “Ya-Ya”. It is dedicated to the music of the New Composers and was made with “spray paint”. Painting B did not receive permission for the exhibition due to the English text (it is also in a private collection). In addition, I planned to show 15 photos painted with felt-tip pens, also from a private collection, but for various reasons they did not receive permission for the exhibition either – too "new wave", too unusual. (Page 3)

All three paintings from the pictures were carried out as graffiti art, that is, as a combination of image and words. Here is Kozlov’s description from 2023 of (a),“Animated Films”:

    “Animated Films” is like a big cartoon with a multitude of actions happening simultaneously; the setting is in the cosmos. The focus is on two figures seen in a crosswise arrangement, the vertical one popping out from a mouth like a jack-in-the-box (say the word!), the horizontal one shaking its limbs. I was possibly inspired by the dummies from the New Composers’ performance at the Peter-and-Paul Fortress [see Letter G]. The four letters a-A-U-a, aua, compose a sound children make when they feel pain. It is a primary, universal exclamation, and A is also the first letter of the alphabet (say the word!). A band of ornamental signs with SOS at the end shows that the situation is critical. Most elements are related to each other in a counter-clockwise movement defined by the sputnik next to the earth. It involves the UFO at the top of the composition and the distant spiral to the left, but not the smiling sickle, a logo I developed to replace the negative Soviet logotype. The painting reminds me of Kenny Scharf’s early compositions. My style is, of course, quite different from his, but there is a similar intensity of subject matters.
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  “Мультфильмы / Animated Films”. The painting is also titled "COC / SOS".   Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986, painted vintage print (а)  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number (photo): E-E-pho-Y064-opc2  E-E archival number of painting: E-E-185003.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

“Мультфильмы / Animated Films”. The painting is also titled "COC / SOS".

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986, painted vintage print (а)

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

E-E archival number (photo): E-E-pho-Y064-opc2

E-E archival number of painting: E-E-185003.



In (б), the large work dedicated to the music of the New Composers, the two letters Я – Я, pronounced “Ya-Ya” in Russian and meaning “I – I” in English, take the function of a name tag. It replaces the more popular E-E, pronounced Yeh-Yeh. The letter Я, the last letter of the Russian alphabet, is also the last letter of Женя, Zhenya, a short form of Kozlov’s first name Evgenij which the artist used up to 1990. He sprayed the composition on a black piece of paper consisting of numerous light-proof paper bags. Its symbols – a skull-headed manikin, a puppet, a rocket, a palm tree, a skyscraper,  arrows, dots, a + - + - chain, and some more –  clearly stand out against the background, and it is easy to imagine them sprayed on the wall of a building. It is no wonder the painting made an impact on Timur Novikov. In his article “The Festival of Arts” we read: “Evgenij Kozlov looked quite extraordinary on a giant black paper”[4].

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  New Composers Igor Verichev and Valery Alakhov performing on Kozlov's painting “Я-Я / Ya-Ya” at the Leningrad Rock Club.  Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986, vintage print (б)  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number (photo): E-E-pho-BI36-op

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

New Composers Igor Verichev and Valery Alakhov performing on Kozlov's painting “Я-Я / Ya-Ya” at the Leningrad Rock Club.

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986, vintage print (б)

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

E-E archival number (photo): E-E-pho-BI36-op

E-E archival number of painting : E-E-185004.



With all public exhibitions, a municipal exhibition committee was in charge to approve the exhibits. While it had no problem to admit "Animated Films" and “Ya-Ya”, it refused painting (B), also signed “Ya-Ya” – because of its English text: “There are no nearby hills or promontories from which the art gang could admire their WORK, ЖЕНЯ.”

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Title of painting unknown, possibly  "Я-Я / Ya-Ya" (see bottom right)  Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986, painted vintage print (B)  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number (photo): E-E-pho-EP11-opc  E-E archival number of painting: E-E-185008.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Title of painting unknown, possibly "Я-Я / Ya-Ya" (see bottom right)

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986, painted vintage print (B)

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

E-E archival number (photo): E-E-pho-EP11-opc

E-E archival number of painting: E-E-185008.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Detail of painting E-E-185008 (see above) with script: “There are no nearby hills or promontories from which the art gang could admire their WORK, ЖЕНЯ.”

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Detail of painting E-E-185008 (see above) with script:
“There are no nearby hills or promontories from which the art gang could admire their WORK, ЖЕНЯ.”



It is very unlikely that the censors actually understood the allusion to “the use of graffiti by street gangs to mark territory or to serve as an indicator of gang-related activities” (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti). However, banning the work from being publicly shown, they were on the safe side. The same goes for those “15 photos painted with felt-tip pens, also from a private collection.” Unfortunately, neither the photos nor the name of the collector have been documented, but we may assume that Kozlov applied his newly developed comic-graffiti style described for the picture in Letter H. (Since they were from “a private collection”, it is possible that they are identical with the “ten painted photos for the cover” Kozlov gave Sergey Kuryokhin for the “Insect Culture “ album, see Letter H)

Kozlov’s pictures of the exhibition – taken before the opening –  do not document all the works of his fellow artists, or even his own works (with the exception of YA-YA). The exhibition views, however, demonstrate that these artists worked in a number of other genres besides comic and graffiti art. Primitivism was also significant, while “portraits in a realistic style” like Kozlov’s were an exception. What united the artists was a feeling for vitality and originality, and it attracted them to Sergey Kurokhin’s Pop Mekhanika performances. Letter I ends with a short fragment of Kozlov’s description of the exhibition and concert.

    The exhibition opened on New Year's Eve. In the centre of the hall there was a huge bright New Years’ tree[5] – imagine what a “pops” – as bright as the paintings, and everyone was in a joyful and cheerful mood. A concert of modern music – very stylish – capped the opening. The number of concert participants grows every time – eighty people and three birds, two chickens, and a rooster harnessed to a troika took part in this performance. The audience in the hall laughed a lot and there was actually something to laugh about. Couplets and folk verses were sung; India, Africa, Russia, America intertwined together and of course, everything was “crazy and new wave”. Costumes, sparklers […] (Page 3)

Eighty people on stage – it seems that Kozlov counted very generously, but to him it was more important to render the spirit of the evening than to pedantically compute numerical data. With his references to verses from other continents, he turned the “concert of modern music” into an international happening, a world affair, in a manner of speaking.

To feel part of the world was essential, and the world indeed had an effect on what was created. According to journalist Alexander Kan, Kuryokhin’s close friend, Kuryokhin was inspired by the German band “Globe Unity Orchestra” and their LP “Jahrmarkt / Local Fair”, released in 1977.  I discussed the history of Pop Mekhanika in my article Pop Mekhanika in the West from 2017/2018:

    Apparently, the first PM concert or concerts were not yet presented under the Pop Mekhanika label. Alexander Kan lists a large variety of “early” band names, among them “Creative Music Orchestra” and “Crazy Music Orchestra”, the first being a reference to the Chicago “Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians” and the latter a sign of Kuryokhin’s departing from the seriousness of New Jazz more >>.

Alek Zander, one of the pseudonyms of Alexander Startsev, editor of Leningrad’s samizdat music review Roksi, gives an account of the evening:

    The second part featured Sergey Kuryokhin’s POP MECHANIKHA, the Orchestra of United Hearts. There were also old jazz saxophonists who soloed in turn, and the duo BG [Boris Grebenshikov] and Grini [Grigory] Sologub, and [violonist] Gakkel, and Boris Raiskin from the CONSORT and [KINO’s] Igor Tikhomirov with a double bass, which he played with a bow, and the song eh-da for Odessa. “And here is one French boatswain” performed by four voices – Tsoy, Vitya Sologub, BG and Andrey Molev, and a solo by Andrey Molev, a veteran of Leningrad rock, and a special guest – the bass guitarist of the ULTRAVOX group Christopher Cross, who played a bass duel with Alexander Titov. How can the music be described? Except for the overused “high”, nothing comes to mind. The joy of the soul, and that’s all.

    Второе отделение - ПОП-МЕХАНИКА Сергея Курехина. Оркестр объединенных сердец. Там были и старые саксофонисты-джазмены, солировавшие по очереди, и дуэт БГ и Грини Сологуба, и Гаккель, и Борис Райскин из КОНСОРТА и Игорь Тихомиров с контрабасом, на котором он играл смычком, и песня эх-да за Одессу. "И тут один французский боцман" исполненная на четыре голоса - Цой, Витя Сологуб, БГ и Андрей Молев, и соло Андрея Молева - ветерана ленинградского рока, и специальный гость - бас гитарист группы УЛЬТРАВОКС Кристофер Кросс, устроивший бас-дуэль с Александром Титовым. Как можно описать музыку? Кроме избитого "кайф", ничего в голову не лезет. Радость души, да и только. 

 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985. From left to right: Sergei Bugaev, Vladislav Gutsevich (with bucket), Igor Verichev, Oleg Kotelnikov (with mask), Garik Assa (Oleg Kolomeychuk), Mikhail Chernov (saxophone), Chris Cross (bass guitar), Boris Grebenshikov (guitar)  Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH64-op

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985.
From left to right:
Sergei Bugaev, Vladislav Gutsevich (with bucket), Igor Verichev, Oleg Kotelnikov (with mask), Garik Assa (Oleg Kolomeychuk), Mikhail Chernov (saxophone), Chris Cross (bass guitar), Boris Grebenshikov (guitar)

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986

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

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH64-op




Pop Mekhanika (1984-1995) was not a band with steady members – rather, it was an occasional gathering of musicians, most of whom were members of their own bands. Thus, the “Happy New Year” concert saw members of KINO, Strange Games, Aquarium, and the New Composers; it goes without saying that special guest Chris Cross of Ultravox was snuck in by the other musicians and appeared on stage incognito.

The core of Pop Mekhanika performances were the rock and jazz sections, at times combatting each other to produce what Kuryokhin called "develop unpredictably” and “tutti, and spontaneous improvisation” more >>, that is – unpredictable tutti. Over time, Kuryokhin would integrate not only folklore ensembles and chamber musicians, but also opera singers, military choirs, as well as dancers and other performers in fantastic costumes. Another important “component” were animals on stage – for instance the hens and a rooster during the The New Year Concert of Hunting for the Indo-Tibetan Goat. Its title notwithstanding, this Rock Club performance had no goats, but later, goats appeared in other Pop Mekhanika performances, as well as a baboon, goats, snakes, a pony, and geese.[6]

However, the distinguishing feature of The New Year Concert was a graffiti art happening carried out by musicians and artists on huge piece of cloth, a kind of backdrop for the stage. Kozlov’s picture on top of Letter I shows a fragment of this painting. New Composer Igor Verichev is sticking his head through a hole in the cloth with a bewildered gaze. No wonder: next to him, two musicians from a folklore ensemble clad in traditional coats are blowing huge animal horns. On the left, the four letters ACCA, or ASSA, can be seen – an exclamation (with the stress on the first syllable) that became popular among the New Artists around that time (see Letter N Part 2, “ASSA”).Kozlov highlighted the letters red, and they match the situation perfectly.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985. Timur Novikov (left) and Georgy Guryanov (right) Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH53-op

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985.
Timur Novikov (left) and Georgy Guryanov (right)
Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986

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

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH53-op



Timur Novikov refers to ASSA in his concluding remarks of “The Festival of Arts”:

    Last but not least, something has to be said about the main thing (since you cannot say everything about “Popular Mechanics”, and even every song written deserves a separate study) – about the final scene of the concert, the scene of universal rejoicing, the “ASSA” scene, which absorbed all the brightest, strongest, and healthiest part of the new art. Almost everyone on stage and most people in the auditorium danced “ASSA”.
    The happy and elated audience did not go home for a long time!
    !! ASSA !!

    Остается сказать о главном (так как всего о "Популярной механике" не сказать, и даже каждая написанная песня заслуживает отдельного исследования) - о заключительной сцене концерта, сцене всеобщего ликования, сцене "АССА", вобравшей в себя все самое светлое, сильное, здоровое в новом искусстве. "АССУ" плясали практически все находившиеся на сцене и большинство находившихся в зрительном зале.
    Счастливая и приподнятая публика долго не расходилась по домам!
    !! АССА !! External link >>

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985. Igor Verichev and Garik Assa (Oleg Kolomeychuk)  Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH45-op

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985.
Igor Verichev and Garik Assa (Oleg Kolomeychuk)

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986

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

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH45-op




Among the Pop Mekhanika pictures sent with Letter I, there are some more close-ups of New Artists painting on stage. Although by far not all artists from the exhibition participated in the “Happy New Year” performance, it still fostered their reputation as a group of multifaceted talents who were engaged not only in visual art, in writing texts, and playing music, but also collaborated in art happenings and occasionally created joint works.[7]

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985. New Artists Vladislav Gutsevich and Oleg Kotelnikov (with mask), KINO drummer Georgy Guryanov (painting)  Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH52-op

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985.
New Artists Vladislav Gutsevich and Oleg Kotelnikov (with mask), KINO drummer Georgy Guryanov (painting)

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, spring 1986

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

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH52-op




This having been said, not all New Artists engaged themselves in all activities, but on the other hand, no one expected that they should perform professionally in all fields. What is more, the Soviet legal system, which designated “unofficial” artists – a category pertaining to most New Artists – as “amateurs”, implicitly justified a “punk approach” to the arts.[8] Evgenij Kozlov’s attitude to this “wild and crazy” aspect remained ambiguous. He enjoyed the spontaneity and carefreeness of Pop Mekhanika and other performances, and through his pictures, they inspired his art. But what appeared wild and crazy in his works was often the product of carefully developed concepts, each meticulously composed over a longer period of time. With his painting Shark from 1988, a multifigure composition integrating an image of Novikov from the Happy New Year concert, he brought this concept to perfection.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Timur Novikov Colour slide from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985.  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-XG08 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  “Shark”, mixed media on canvas, 221 x 159, 1988
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Timur Novikov
Colour slide from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" performance at the Leningrad Rock Club, 27 December 1985.

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-XG08
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

“Shark”, mixed media on canvas, 221 x 159, 1988

more >> and more >>

Hannelore Fobo, 9 June 2023



[1] Leningradskii Mezhsoyuznii Dom Samodeyatel’nogo Tvorchestva / Ленинградский Межсоюзный Дом Самодеятельного Творчества more >>.

[2] а, б, b, pronounced a, b, v, are the first letters of the Russian alphabet. 

[3] In all likelihood, Кино / Cinema more >> is identical with the painting listed as Шик, Шок, Шоу / Chic, Shock, Show in Novikov’s catalogue more >>. See also: E-E KOZLOV The Atlas of Ontology, Chapter 2 more >>.

[4] “Неожиданно выглядел Евгений Козлов на гигантской черной бумаге” Quoted in E. Andreeva, catalogue Brushstroke, St. Petersburg, 2010. Originally published in the catalogue Novye Khudozhniki 1982–1987, P. 91 External link >>.

[5] In the Soviet Union, New Year’s Day replaced Christmas, and eлка, yolka /  spruce, is also translated as Christmas tree.

[6] Towards the end of the nineteen-eighties, when Pop Mekhanika started touring abroad, the presence of animals on stage raised a controversy among the Western audience. This, in turn, was met with incomprehension on the Russian side, as Sergey Letov wrote in 2007:

    The performances abroad showed that the European audience wasn’t ready for joyous madness. In Moers, simple-minded German “Greens” came to defend the goat, which was not presented with due respect. […] The West was unable to understand the fusion of different layers of reality.

    Зарубежные же выступления показали, что европейская публика не принимает веселого безумия. Тупоумные немецкие зеленые бросились «защищать» козла в Мёрсе, представленного недостаточно уважительно. […]. Запад не понял и не мог принять смещения планов реальности. External link >>.

For a detailed discussion of this topic see my article from2017/ 2018: Pop Mekhanika in the West, page 5 : Geese and goats as antithesis more >>.

[7] Who actually became a New Artist and at what stage is a question answered differently by different people at different times. If Kozlov spoke of “selected artists”, Novikov, quite the contrary, tried to gradually expand their number to create the image of a growing mass movement. Thus, in his autobiography from 1998, Novikov included musicians who were also painting, such as New Composer Igor Verichev,  KINO drummer Georgy Guryanov, and Viktor Tsoy, lead-singer of KINO, and even New Composer Valery Alakhov, who almost never painted.

For a detailed discussion of this topic see my article from 2018: Timur Novikov’s New Artists list. Page 7. The New Artists group and the New Artists movement more >>.

[8] In 1986, when a new law permitted founding amateur clubs more easily, Novikov tried to implement the principle of versatility with two associations, the “Club of the Appreciation of Amateur Creativity” and the “Mayakovsky Friends Club”, each supplied with a numerous sections such as literature, music, visual art, scholarly criticism, cinema, photography, theatre, fashion, and archive. It allowed a generous distribution of one and the same member to several sections at once. Novikov, with his alter ego Igor Potapov, was omnipresent. Thus, in the “Club of the Appreciation of Amateur Creativity“, he participated in five sections, while Kozlov, modestly, was assigned to two. However, since both associations never much left their initial stage of foundation, the sections had no further importance either.

For a detailed discussion of this topic see my article from 2018: Timur Novikov’s New Artists list. Page 8. The “Mayakovsky Friends Club” and the “Club of the Appreciation of Amateur Creativity” more >>.




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov "MY HALLOWEEN" Drawing on paper, 1979, top page of folded letter to Catherine Mannick dated 30 October 1979 (Letter A).  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University  E-E archival number: E-E-179020

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

катя С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ, женя / katia, Happy New Year, zhenia
Coloured vintage print from the Pop Mekhanika "Happy New Year" Performance at the Lenignrad Rock Club, 27. December 1985.
Letter I to Catherine Mannick, top page of folded card, spring 1986

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

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-BH66-opc




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Letter A to Catherine Mannick, page 2, October / November 1979 Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, page 2, spring 1986

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

Page 1

Дорогая моя, Катя¡

Спасибо большое за письма, фотографии, открытку из Италии и подарки – книгу, статьи об искусстве и спортивные тапки. Все очень здорово! Тапки легкие и красивые, и я удобно себя в них чувствую, цвет мне нравится тоже. Интересно, что в последнее время в ввожу много черного цвета в картины и можно сказать, что сейчас, пока, это мой любимый цвет. Как тебе удается чувствовать мои увлечения, неужели мы такие близкие, что даже по расстоянии ты знаешь мои вкусы в данный момент? Я так благодарен тебе за твою заботу обо мне и знание меня! Та шикарная фотография, где ты снималась на пароходе в Италии, всегда ношу ее с собой, как будто создана для меня. И письма, в них я нашел много, о чем долго думал, особенно в двух последних и, конечно, моя память о встречах и нашем понимании друг друга в них и то, что ты часто думаешь обо мене и готова помогать, я тоже, и моя будущая жизнь и искусство, и многое другое во мне самом и в окружении, даже мое подсознание и интуиция зовут меня к изменениям. Когда я говорю об этом, то вижу Марину, Юру, Геру — что-то в их жизни я готов взять для себя сейчас и чем скорее, тем лучше!!! Что-то, что их сейчас объединяет.

Я так много раз хотел писать тебе и еще больше думаю о тебе, тоже когда гуляю или сижу в метро, или когда один — думаю о тебе. Много думал над твоими словами и наших взаимоотношениях и знаешь, я согласен с тобой в том, что жаль, что мы так редко видимся. Я часто скучаю по тебя, мы не имеем возможности открывать себя, письма некогда не заменят нам общения, мы такие люди — многим могли бы делиться между собой. И ты для меня еще такой человек, который учит думать о жизни, даже и не представляю себя, что бы делал без тебя, без твоего внимания и заботы, без твоего таланта общения со мной, никогда не забываю




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov "MY HALLOWEEN" Drawing on paper, 1979, top page of folded letter to Catherine Mannick dated 30 October 1979 (Letter A). Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University E-E archival number: E-E-179020

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, page 3, spring 1986

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

Page 2

твои слова о том, что ты готова выдержать меня во всем любые мои причуды и слова, поэтому ты для меня такой особенный человек, дорогой, близкий, желанный. Нахожу в тебе часть себя!

О других твоих письмах о нашем прошлом скажу, что понимаю тебя и верю тебе, но я и сам, наверное, в чем-то виноват перед тобой, ты меня тоже, пожалуйста, прости и верь мне, я все хочу сделать для того, чтобы ты была счастлива! Мне больно знать, что у тебя такое отчуждение к жизни, что у тебя депрессия (эта зима показалась мне тоже не райской жизнью. Такое впечатление, что меня всю зиму угощали конфетами, я их разворачивал, а там было пусто. Кажется, я и сейчас держу в руках только фантик) и что ты не имеешь силы к освобождению, что ты хотела бы иметь семью и детей, но боишься остаться одна в этой семье. Я, Катя, тоже, хотя у меня есть еще любимое дело, очень важное для меня, которое захватывает все собой и тем самым ставит перед мной заслоны к общению в какое-то время и только человек понимающий это, и способный поддерживать меня сможет быть рядом со мной и я тоже, и я буду счастлив. Я надеюсь на это и на себя.

Помню наш разговор о детях — никогда не слышал таких слов, что кто-то хотел бы иметь ребенка от меня и дело в том, что это говорила ты, мой самый близкий человек, даже не жена, а мой друг! Или я это выдумал? Катя, мне будет страшно больно, если ты будешь иметь ребенка от кого-то другого, правда. Не делай этого! Пока я сам не готов сейчас, но буду, обязательно буду — мы будем, если наш разговор не был обоюдным успокоением той сумасшедшей ленинградской ночи. Я буду чувствовать себя счастливым, если ребенок будет моим! Мне важно, чтобы ты знала это, все-таки в жизни я не особенно решительный человек. Но я такой, какой я есть и хочу, чтобы ты думала обо мне, верила мне и в меня и знала, что я никогда не хочу ограничивать твою свободу, потому, что я знаю ее силу, волшебство. И я тоже выдержу тебя во всем и помогу, верь мне!

Тут, Катя, собрал для тебя несколько „Wild and crazy“ примеров Ленинградского творчества, но, конечно, не все. Чтобы увидеть все, нужно ничего не делать, а только ходить и смотреть. Если бы я мог не работать на государственной работе, то так бы и делал. Откровенно говоря, устал от




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov "MY HALLOWEEN" Drawing on paper, 1979, top page of folded letter to Catherine Mannick dated 30 October 1979 (Letter A). Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University E-E archival number: E-E-179020

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter I to Catherine Mannick, page 3, spring 1986

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

Page 3

официальной работы, занимает слишком много драгоценного времени и отнимает част сил от творчества — живешь один раз, жалко просто тратить время, Ну ладно, лучше расскажу о культурных событиях. Была новая выставка, но уже в избранном составе — очень современная, только художники свежих веяний. Любители традиционного искусства или ничего не понимали, или плевались — очень здорово, как ты считаешь? Коллекционеры ничего не покупали — слишком бедные и только просили что-то подарить, музеи тоже бедные, но в отличие от коллекционеров, ничего не смыслят в современном искусстве. Я выставил три живописные работы у два графических реалистических портрета. Некоторые работы с выставки смотри на фотографиях. Две живописные работы имеют общее название, конечно, смешное: „Ужасы буржуазного кинематографа“ — одна „кино“, другая „мультфильмы“. „Мультфильмы“ — a , с полотна „Kино“ фотографии пока нет (она находится в частной коллекции). Картина— б  многометровая полоса с условным названием „Я — Я“, посвящена музыкальному произведению новых композиторов, в технике „spray paint“. Картина  — В не получила разрешения на экспозицию из-за английского текста (находится тоже в частной коллекции). Кроме того, планировал показать 15 фотографий раскрашенных фломастерами, тоже из частной коллекции, но по разным причинам они тоже не получили разрешения на экспозицию — слишком „new wave“, слишком необычно.

Выставка открылась на Новый год. В центре зала стояла огромная яркая елка — представляешь, какой „pops“ — такая же яркая, как и картины, и настроение было радостное и веселое у всех. Открытие ознаменовалось, „до полной кучи“, концертом современной музыки — очень шикарным. Количество участников концерта растет с каждым разом — в этом представлением принимало участие уже 80 человек и три птицы, две куры и петух, запряженные  в тройку. Зрители в зале много смеялись и было над чем. Пелись куплеты и частушки, Индия, Африка, Россия, Америка переплелись вместе и конечно, „crazy and new wave“. Костюмы, бенгальские




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 17 June 2023
Last updated 12 June 2024