(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 P (March 1989) – Perestroika Hot News

Letter P is dated 17/III/1989, which means that it was written approximately a year after the preceding Letter O. It is one of Evgenij Kozlov’s longer letters and was sent in an ordinary airmail envelope. Apparently, neither art nor pictures went with it – at least, the text has no references to enclosures.

The time that elapsed between Letter O and Letter P is unusually long, and during this period, Kozlov received four of Mannick’s letters – Letter 42 (written April 1988), Letter 43 (June 1988), Letter 44 (August 1988) and Letter 45 (December 1988).[1] Yet none of them mentions the reception of a letter from Petrodvorets/Peterhof. As a matter of fact, Letter P begins with an apology:

    I'm sorry that I was silent for too long again, it is because of this complex and beautiful art, and thoughts about it take up all the time. I have often wanted to reply to you and, of course, I sent a letter at Christmas, but I guess you didn't get it. I think that the fault is with the mail and nothing else, except for my fault that I did not send the letter as registered mail (just hoping) and therefore allowed the officials to get away with whatever they wanted to do with my correspondence. However, perhaps the letter has reached you. Well, if, after all, it hasn’t and you still don't know anything about me, I'll write something interesting now. (p.1)

The interesting news Kozlov announces describe the new opportunities brought along with perestroika – both for the international promotion of his art and for Soviet people in general, the latter exemplified with a list of twenty-six “hot news” which make up the second part of the letter.

Kozlov’s Christmas letter actually did arrive, as Mannick confirms in her answer to Letter P from April 1989 (Letter 46), but it has not been preserved. By all means, there seems to have been a break in Kozlov’s correspondence that lasted for almost a year, which is quite unusual, considering the frequency of his letters in previous years. On the other hand, it didn’t come completely unexpected to Mannick. In her answer to Letter O from April 1988, she had written, “I completely understand that you can’t write often, I am in the same situation – my studies demand 100% of my time.” The part of Letter O she refers to is missing, and we can therefore only assume that already at the beginning of 1988, Kozlov explained that he was short of time because of his art.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov in his studio “Galaxy Gallery”, 1988 with his painting “Anna Karenina 2” more >> • more >> Photo: Vadim Sadovnikov  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-DA25-op

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov in his studio “Galaxy Gallery”, 1988
with his painting “Anna Karenina 2” more >>more >>
Photo: Vadim Sadovnikov

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-DA25-op




1988 had indeed been a very prolific year for his art. The variety of new styles and techniques is impressive, and Kozlov often merged (hyper-)realistic and non-realistic painting on different materials. He sewed irregular borders around large-format canvases more >> and experimented with painting through gauze, a printing technique similar to that of a monotype silkscreen print more >>.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Она закрыла глаза и … / She Closed Her Eyes and ... Ink on paper, 89 x 144 cm, 1988  The artist began by drawing the composition through a piece of gauze which partly absorbed the ink (see below). He then removed the gauze and continued painting directly on the paper.  E-E archival number: E-E-188023

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Она закрыла глаза и … / She Closed Her Eyes and ...
Ink on paper, 89 x 144 cm, 1988

The artist began by drawing the composition through a piece of gauze which partly absorbed the ink (see below). He then removed the gauze and continued painting directly on the paper more >>.

E-E archival number: E-E-188023

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Она закрыла глаза и … / She Closed Her Eyes and ... Ink on gauze, 77 x 130 cm, 1988  E-E archival number: E-E-188024

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Она закрыла глаза и … / She Closed Her Eyes and ...
Ink on gauze, 77 x 130 cm, 1988 more >>

E-E archival number: E-E-188024




He created numerous objects, for instance his “Art from the USSR / Art for the USA” bus-stop signs more >>. Portraiture also stood in the focus of Kozlov’s attention more >>, and among his portraits is his emblematic “Portrait of Timur Novikov with Arms consisting of Bones” more >>. He continued experimenting with constructivist shapes he had first worked out in 1987 and, using a felt-lined cutlery tray, made the prototype for his painting from 1989 “Points of Contact” from the USA-CCCP series more >>.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Точки Соприкосновения / Points of Contact Mixed media on felt and wood, 46.5 x 23 x 4 cm, 1988  E-E archival number: E-E-188027

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Точки Соприкосновения / Points of Contact
Mixed media on felt and wood, 46.5 x 23 x 4 cm, 1988

E-E archival number: E-E-188027




If being engaged in art caused Kozlov’s prolonged silence, it might not have been the only reason. Mannick had written him in April 1988 that she couldn’t make it to the Soviet Union in 1988, which probably made him set his mind on other things. Last but not least, in June 1988, she told him of her forthcoming wedding with her boyfriend in September; she had known him for a couple of years and had written of him earlier see Letter I. This, of course, affected what Kozlov could expect from their friendship, and when he finally answered, he came to the point:

    Katya, thank you so much for all the letters, for taking care of me (in such a feminine way), for your concern, for your wishes, for all the many things you are doing for me. It is important for me to know and feel that you need and are interested in me, although lately I often think that due to the new changes in your family situation – I'm talking about marriage – you will have much less time for me and less energy, too, and this is natural. (p.1)

Although a certain alienation can be felt in these lines, it didn’t keep Kozlov from sending Mannick one of his pictures as a wedding present. We know of this fact because in August 1988 (Letter 44), Mannick wrote that Marina, a common friend asked to take his present to the States, had left it behind; perhaps it was too large to be smuggled out of the Soviet Union.[2]

In fact, Kozlov had no intention at all to stop writing, and he expresses his feelings with the imprint of a kiss at the beginning of the letter, followed by the line “It’s me who kissed you with this funny kiss”. He is also looking forward to Catherine Mannick’s next visit, now announced for June 1989, although he doesn’t exclude the possibility that he might be somewhere else, since the political changes provided him with such chances.

    I will be terribly glad to meet you! But above all I simply need to be in Leningrad at that time, because I may wish to leave the USSR (or Leningrad) to some place this year – perestroika has now made it possible to travel abroad. Some of my friends have already travelled,[3] and their impressions seemed quite interesting to me, especially since it's better to see everything yourself once, as you know, than to hear it 100 times.

    And if my financial affairs become positive now, which is quite likely, or I get an invitation from a gallery, which is also possible now, then I will go off immediately. I very much want to relax and change surroundings. The USA also fell into the circle of my interests (or plans), because negotiations are already underway on an exhibition of Modern Soviet art in your country. Most likely it will be New York or Los Angeles.[4] We'll see. (p.2)

Kozlov’s optimism to see his financial situation finally getting better is based on his participation in a number of international exhibitions during the previous months:[5]

    Last year, there were already some exhibitions which also showed my paintings: Stockholm more >>, Copenhagen, W. Berlin[6], Los Angeles see Letter O, and in January of this year, a show was held in London.[7] (p.2)

Though these exhibitions didn’t bring him money, they brought him some prominence.

    My paintings were printed on the covers of catalogues and posters, so I kind of was the face of Modern Art – there's something in that, isn't there? (p.2/3)

Unidentified Stockholm newspaper with an article about the Kulturhuset exhibition and festival “The New from Leningrad“, published 29 August 1988; detail with Pether Engström's picture. The picture shows  Sissi Nilsson (Kulturhuset) and  Fredrik Vogel (curator) next to the exhibtion poster displaying (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov‘s painting from 1985 "Timur on Horseback" more >>

Unidentified Stockholm newspaper with an article about the Kulturhuset exhibition and festival “The New from Leningrad“, published 29 August 1988; detail with Pether Engström's picture.
The picture shows Sissi Nilsson (Kulturhuset) and Fredrik Vogel (curator) next to the exhibtion poster displaying (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov‘s painting from 1985 "Timur on Horseback" more >> see Letter N, Part 2




“Perestroika in the Avant-Garde” Festival Poster. Bluecoat, Liverpool, 1989 more >>. Logo: (E-E) Evgenij Kozov Звезда / "Star" (white paint on red calico, 207 x 225 cm, 1987) The Kozlov & Fobo Collection, Berlin

“Perestroika in the Avant-Garde” Festival Poster. Bluecoat, Liverpool, 1989 more >>.
Logo: (E-E) Evgenij Kozov Звезда / "Star" (white paint on red calico, 207 x 225 cm, 1987)
The Kozlov & Fobo Collection, Berlin




Kozlov didn’t mention Liverpool, where “Perestroika in the Avant-Garde” took place at the end of January / beginning of February 1989; it had his painting “Star” printed on the festival poster more >>more >>. But it looks as if his international career had indeed started rather promisingly.

    A month ago I signed an agreement with one of the Moscow galleries dealing with Soviet art internationally to supply my paintings to the western market. In May, nine paintings and a sculpture will go to auction in W. Berlin. The auction [house] is quite prestigious, a competitor to Sotheby's and Christie’s (London). (p.3)

Mezhdunarodnaya Hotel, Sovincenter, Moscow, 7. 7. 1988. The sign shows the way to Sotheby‘s first auction in the Soviet Union, which sold works by the Russian avant-garde and contemporary unofficial artists from Moscow.  Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 1988 Interpreter (left) and auctioneer Simon de Pury (right) during Sotheby‘s first auction in Soviet Union, Moscow, 7. 7. 1988. Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 1988

Mezhdunarodnaya Hotel, Sovincenter, Moscow, 7. 7. 1988. The sign shows the way to Sotheby‘s first auction in the Soviet Union, which sold works by the Russian avant-garde and contemporary unofficial artists from Moscow.

Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 1988
Interpreter (left) and auctioneer Simon de Pury (right) during Sotheby‘s first auction in Soviet Union, Moscow, 7. 7. 1988

Read Simon de Pury's memories article A spotlight on russian art on the website of Garage, Moscow >>

Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 1988




After Sotheby’s legendary Moscow auction of Soviet art on 7 July, 1988 – in the main, with contemporary art from Moscow – the western market for this segment could be expected to expand. Inside and outside the country, new art agents and dealers turned up, and they sometimes competed with each other.[8] However, it is not clear which was the Moscow gallery Kozlov had signed a contract with, nor whether this led to any sales of his works. At any rate, it cannot have led to a long-lasting business relation, since in his biography, there is no further reference to a Moscow gallery.

Likewise, nothing is known about the auction house in West Berlin or Kozlov’s selection of nine canvases and a sculpture for this specific auction, except that for the artist himself, the increased demand on his works had an unpleasant side effect:

    But for me, there is one “But“ or dissatisfaction in this matter — at the time I was selecting paintings for the auction, my main works had not yet returned from the English exhibition see Letter N, Part 1, “Lost Art”, so I had to send canvases of small sizes and a different stylistic approach to Germany (which I call POPs), and accordingly, who the hell knows how they will sell. But we'll wait and see.[9] (p.3)

Concerning his art, there had always been a discrepancy between what Kozlov intended to do and what circumstances allowed him to do. But with the new opportunities, this gap was getting even larger.

    Generally speaking, my plans are big. I want to paint, but I can't realise that much because of the circumstances. Perhaps this is my fate after all. The horoscope correctly says that people with my sign are not able to create for themselves good working conditions and that only if they are good, I will be able to perfectly carry out everything I conceive. It seems I need a manager. (p.3)

While conditions were far from being ideal, his artistic imagination and willpower were unlimited. 

    And now I am working on two large canvases dedicated to why aliens from Outer Space visit the Earth, but I am developing this idea (or rather showing it) from the point of view of people, although I myself look at all this from the perspective of aliens. I began to introduce nude figures into the compositions. And, of course, I am still interested in the CCCP-USA [USSR-USA] topic. I often return to it in painting. (p.3/4)
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Акула / Shark Mixed media on canvas, 221 x 159 cm, 1988  E-E archival number: E-E-188006

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Акула / Shark
Mixed media on canvas, 221 x 159 cm, 1988 more >>more >>

E-E archival number: E-E-188006



It looks somewhat eccentric to group aliens, nude painting and the СССР-USA topic as subject matters for paintings. But in Kozlov’s body of works, none was ephemeral, just that “visitors from outer space” belong to the larger context of cosmos. “Cosmos” can be understood in two ways. The first, more obvious, is its presence in various paintings. Kozlov’s composition “Love for the Cosmos”, constitutes an important example; it was is executed on a bus-stop sign in 1989 and on a 2 x 3 m canvas in 1990; in 2023, the painting joined the Tate Gallery Collection more>>. With his series, "E-E Classic (НЛО-UFO)” from 2014/2015, the artist pursued a different approach, rendering homage to his fellow artists and creative people close to him more>>.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov in his Leningrad studio “Russkoee Polee” / The Russian Field with two paintings from his "New Classicals" cycle 1989/1990: Love for the Cosmos and Love for the Wonderful (first version) more>> Colour print with text on the reverse from Letter R, 18 March 1990  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-ZA06-op  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov in his Leningrad studio “Russkoee Polee” / The Russian Field with two paintings from his "New Classicals" cycle 1989/1990: Love for the Cosmos and Love for the Wonderful (first version) more>>
Colour print with text on the reverse from Letter R, 18 March 1990
Photo: unknown.

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-ZA06-op

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




E-E Classic (НЛО - UFO), 2014, no. 5  From left to right: Andrey Khlobystin, Dima Zhukov, Evgenij Kondratev, Evgenij Kozlov, unknown. Russkoee Polee 2, studio (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, Berlin. Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 1998. The series E-E Classic (НЛО - UFO) consists of approximately two hundred painted photo collages in an A4 format


E-E Classic (НЛО - UFO), 2014, no. 5

From left to right: Andrey Khlobystin, Dima Zhukov, Evgenij Kondratev, Evgenij Kozlov, unknown. Russkoee Polee 2, studio (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, Berlin. Photo: Hannelore Fobo, 1998.
The series E-E Classic (НЛО - UFO) consists of approximately two hundred painted photo collages in an A4 format see exhibition at the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, 2014.




The second, more general aspect of “cosmos” finds its expression in Kozlov’s letter with the description of his twofold artistic position – developing an idea both from the perspective of people and from the perspective of aliens. At first glance, this concept might appear bizarre. It finds a more elaborate form in his manifesto from 1991 “Two Cosmic Systems”, where the artist distinguishes between a view and understanding of art according to the laws of the Earth and a view or perspective from space. The latter is an “as if” approach — “as if the artist had been born in space and had completed their complete path of development and formation solely in it”. It is crucial to understand how these two systems interrelate in art: “Though it is possible to think in such terms, the only way to follow how it develops is via one’s feelings, whereby desire and inspiration lead to a natural merging of the two systems […] This is the natural process of the development of art.” more>>

From here it follows that, to Kozlov, “cosmos” is more than the three-dimensional space that can be conquered physically.[10] This sets his concept apart from what is today known as Russian cosmism, although his fascination with physical objects from outer space cannot be denied. Remarkably, in his list of “hot news”, UFOs appear twice:

    ✮ Two weeks ago, a flying saucer — a UFO — an Unidentified Flying Object hung over Peterhof and other suburbs of Leningrad for 20 minutes. (p.5)

    ✮ On T.V., they showed declassified American information about a UFO that crashed over one of the American military bases 30 years ago. They showed the corpses of aliens — biological robots. (p.5)

Visitors from outer space and their encounter with human beings – Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to quote the title of Stephen Spielberg’s film from 1977 – have been a universal topic of literature and film for decades, better known as Science Fiction.[11] In the Soviet Union, science fiction – in Russian научная фантастика, literally scientific fantasy – was a highly popular genre,[12] not only because of the Sputnik and Gagarin,[13] but because it bordered on the occult and paranormal. Like in the United States, the secret service conducted research about such phenomena.[14] While perestroika did not by itself cause interest into the fantastic, it unleashed all kind of speculation about the results of such research. Kozlov’s reference shows that with perestroika, declassified information from the (former) enemy made it to the Soviet media, thereby supporting a view that Encounters of the Third Kind were more than fantasy.

Kozlov’s “hot news” list actually encompasses the fantastic in multiple ways, and the references to UFOs are only the most obvious. Other points may appear less spectacular; for instance, the news that there are now Soviet farmers. Kozlov uses the English loanword “fermer” which stresses the entrepreneurship of a farmer, as opposed to the more general term krestianin, peasant. This is fantastic insofar, as with forced collectivisation at the end of the 1920s, peasants had become kolkhozniks, factually employed workers on socialist farms. However, the question of individuals enjoying the right of disposal over state property had not been resolved yet. Kozlov continues, “the state cannot decide for how long to lease land to them – for 5 years, for 10, or for eternal use.” (p.4)

By March 1989, perestroika was well under way, but Kozlov is not analysing the current situation like a journalist. Rather, he offers a remarkable selection of what he thinks might interest his friend, bearing in mind what she knows about the country – in short, memorable occurrences, collected in a cabinet of curiosities of sorts. An asterisk precedes each item, and the list ends with “and so forth”, which means that it could be continued. The compilation is rather eclectic and includes some statements of a strictly personal character, which thus acquire the status of breaking news, for instance “Solar activity began to affect me very strongly. I haven’t been able sleep for days.” (p.6)

A closer look allows the separation of those twenty-six news into three categories. The first expresses the spirit of glasnost, of freedom of expression. “Declassified information” belongs to it, and with these new liberties, history is being revised.

    ✮ Almost everything is said and written about history. Stalin is a murderer and an enemy, Khrushchev is a good fellow, Brezhnev is a fool, Gorbachev is a revolutionary and the hope of the whole world. (p.5)

Into the same category fall the news that the name of Zhdanov has been removed from the Leningrad State University and from squares (p.5), that Estonia[15] has received the right to display its national flag (p.5), and that in the press and on T.V., people demand the release of photo albums with the tsar’s family (p.6).

Likewise, marginalised issues are no longer being tabooed:

    ✮ Several films about Soviet prostitutes and drug addicts have been released. (p.6)

A second category is news from economics; it includes the example of independent farmers. However, the top reference for the state of affairs in economics is the black market exchange rate of the dollar to the rouble:

    ✮ On the black market, the US dollar is new selling 1 to 10. (p.4)

One to ten is about double of what was paid for one dollar in 1988, but only half of what it would cost in 1990. To no little degree, this price increase was caused by the increasing number of Soviet citizens travelling abroad with dollars.[16] But the real hot news was based on rumours: The rouble might become convertible, followed by a sizable number of exclamation and question marks – ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ? ! ! ! ! – and Soviet citizens might be able to officially use it (p.4).[17]

The shortcomings of socialist economy are striking, which Kozlov comments with some sarcasm:

    ✮ The situation in grocery stores has become even worse, but there are rumours that it will become (even) better. (p.6)

The shortage of cassettes provides another example – cassettes are essential for copying western music. Kozlov’s hope is on the emergence of joint ventures with capitalist companies:[18]

    ✮ For two years now, there haven’t been any cassettes for tape recorders in any store. But they have started constructing a plant together with BASF and, perhaps, in 2-3 years the situation will normalise. (p.6)

The advantage of a capitalist market system can no longer be denied.

    ✮ Satirists officially declare (for example, Zhvanetsky) that the capitalist system is better than the socialist one at this stage. And not only satirists! (p.4)

The gradual introduction of a market economy brings artists new opportunities, as the first part of the letter shows. Kozlov cites another one: artists freely paint and sell their works in the streets of Leningrad, for instance on Nevsky Prospekt (p.5). Yet new challenges demand new skills, as written above: “It seems I need a manager.” This topic appears once more in his hot news list with the statement that schools for managers have opened (p.6).


(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov Visitors queuing for a ticket to "The Graphics of Salvador Dali" at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, spring 1988  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-DM14 Visitors outside the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, spring 1988.  Centre: (E-E) Evgeni Kozlov next to a poster promoting the Dali exhibition  E-E archival number: E-E-pho-DM15

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Visitors queuing for a ticket to "The Graphics of Salvador Dali" at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, spring 1988

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-DM14
Visitors outside the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, spring 1988.
Centre: (E-E) Evgeni Kozlov next to a poster promoting the Dali exhibition

E-E archival number: E-E-pho-DM15




The third category concerns cultural diversification and opening towards the West. News of this kind are a Frank Zappa concert (p.5), the first beauty contests – Miss Leningrad, Miss Moscow, Miss USSR (p.6) – and the first solo exhibition of Dali’s works in Moscow (p.5), which Kozlov visited. Western culture and music appear on TV more often (p.4), and an American team, most likely students at the Leningrad State University, participates in the popular game show What? Where? When? (p.5)

Ленингрдская красавица 89 / Leningrad Beauty 89, upper part of poster  The top line lists three institutions organising the event: Ленингардский городской комитет BЛКCМ / Leningrad City Committee of the Komsomol • Редакция газеты Смена / Editorial office of the newspaper Smena • Кoмплексный кооператив Ленинтерфильм при киностудии Ленфнильм / Leninterfilm Integrated Cooperative at Lenfilm Film Studio The Kozlov & Fobo Collection

Ленингрдская красавица 89 / Leningrad Beauty 89, upper part of poster
The top line lists three institutions organising the event:
Ленингардский городской комитет BЛКCМ / Leningrad City Committee of the Komsomol • Редакция газеты Смена / Editorial office of the newspaper Smena • Кoмплексный кооператив Ленинтерфильм при киностудии Ленфнильм / Leninterfilm Integrated Cooperative at Lenfilm Film Studio
The Kozlov & Fobo Collection




Kozlov’s conclusion is clear-cut:

    And in general, life has become much freer. Perestroika is really the only solution now and 95% of the country's population supports it. (p.6)

Kozlov’s belief that the population was almost unanimously supporting perestroika doubtlessly reflects his personal attitude towards perestroika, since, as can be seen, it made Kozlov’s own life “become much freer”. Yet it disregards serious public criticism of Mikhail Gorbachev’s ambitious reform programme, which became apparent no later than in 1988.[19]  On the other hand, Kozlov’s appraisal of Gorbachev as “the hope of the whole world” is well founded. Gorbachev initiated a policy of detente and arms control, and in December 1987, the Soviet General Secretary and US President Ronald Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). It is no wonder that in March 1989, Kozlov wrote, “I am still interested in the CCCP-USA topic”. In the course of 1989, he reinterprets his allegorical composition “Points of Contact” from 1988 on a large format on jute. The catalogue text from Kozlov’s solo exhibition “USA. CCCP. CHINA” (2018) explains the polarity between the two superpowers as being overcome see introduction:

    The USA and the CCCP are portrayed as a couple, a woman and a man, with the question of who represents who being left to the viewer. Each has a black dot and a red dot on their head and stomach, though in reverse – the man having a black one on his head and a red one of his stomach, the woman having a red dot on her head and a black one on her stomach. The viewer instinctively joins these points together to form two diagonally-crossing lines – a cross of St Andrew – creating an equilibrium in the dynamic force of the two poles.[20]
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov's solo exhibition "USA-CCCP-CHINA" at Egbert Baqué Contemporary, 2018. Hannelore Fobo, curator, and (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov with E-E's painting Точки соприкосновения / Points of Contact / Oil on jute, 237 x 112 cm, 1989 more>>  E-E archival number: E-E-189031

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov's solo exhibition "USA-CCCP-CHINA" at Egbert Baqué Contemporary, 2018.
Hannelore Fobo, curator, and (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov with E-E's painting
Точки соприкосновения / Points of Contact / Oil on jute, 237 x 112 cm, 1989 more>>

E-E archival number: E-E-189031




The Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 was no longer an allegory – it was the outward manifestation of this polarity being overcome.

Berlin, view of Brandeburg Gate from the East, 10 November 1989 – the day after the Fall of the Berlin Wall simbolising the end of Cold War. Left and right of Berlin's historical monument, illuminated by TV companies, crowds of people can be seen partying on top of the wall, while East German soldiers and military trucks are patrolling Paris Square.   Photo: Hannelore Fobo

Berlin, view of Brandeburg Gate from the East, 10 November 1989 – the day after the Fall of the Berlin Wall simbolising the end of Cold War.
Left and right of Berlin's historical monument, illuminated by TV companies, crowds of people can be seen partying on top of the wall, while East German soldiers and military trucks are patrolling Paris Square.

Photo: Hannelore Fobo

Among all of Soviet / Russia’s leaders, Gorbachev is the only one to whom Evgenij Kozlov relates in a positive way. When in 1998, the Berlin House of Representatives asked the artist to paint Gorbachev’s portrait for the Gallery of Honorary Citizens of Berlin, he accepted, although he doesn’t normally accept a commission for a painting. Interestingly, the deputies of the Berlin parliament also decided to create points of contact between the USA and the Soviet Union. In 1999, Kozlov’s portrait of Mikhail Gorbachev External link>> was displayed next to that of Ronald Reagan, and some years later, a portrait of George Bush senior joined it on the other side.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov next to his Portrait of Mikhail Gorbachev from 1998. Mixed media on canvas, 150 x 100 cm, 1998 E-E archival number: E-E-198177  The Berlin House of Representatives Collection Photo: Buddy Bartelsen, BZ, 26 March 1999

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov next to his Portrait of Mikhail Gorbachev from 1998.
Mixed media on canvas, 150 x 100 cm, 1998
E-E archival number: E-E-198177

The Berlin House of Representatives Collection
Photo: Buddy Bartelsen, BZ, 26 March 1999




In this way, E-E Kozlov’s portrait of the first and only Soviet president can now be seen between those American presidents who were in office during Gorbachev’s political leadership. In our times, however, a positive relationship between the two superpowers, based on their dialectical interdependence, again belongs to the realm of artistic imagination.

Hannelore Fobo, 7 November 2023



[1] Kozlov received them approximately three weeks after they were sent see introduction.

[2] Marina, however, did bring Kozlov Mannick’s presents. Kozlov ends his letter “Thank you, Katya, for those wonderful things that you sent me with Marina. I wear them with pleasure.”

[3] From Kozlov’s New Artists group, the first to travel regularly were Timur Novikov and Sergei Bugaev. Starting with the Stockholm in August 1988, both artists visited many exhibitions – together, and later separately. They were in close contact with foreign organisers and curators, which helped them to promote the New Artists as group, as well as themselves individually.

[4] In 1988 and 1989, Joanna Stingray organised several exhibitions of the New Artists, her Leningrad friends, in Los Angeles See Letter O.

[5] In 1991, Kozlov compiled a list of all his national and international exhibitions, and the year 1988 sees an overall increase in numbers. With regard to international exhibitions, he largely relied on information and printed material Timur Novikov and Sergei Bugaev passed on to him. Not surprisingly, his list is largely congruent with those exhibitions displaying his name in Ksenia Novikova’s Chronicle, a documentation of New Artists exhibitions she created with the help of Novikov’s archive. The Chronicle, published in the catalogue for the 2012 New Artists exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, is an exceptionally important source for researchers. Yet a more detailed analysis of the Chronicle events and exhibitions shows that Novikov’s documents are not always reliable. In some instances, Kozlov’s name appears in the Chronicle line-up of artists, although none of his works was actually displayed (e.g. Seven Independent Artists from Leningrad at the Young Unknowns Gallery, 1988 more>>), while in other cases, the opposite is true: his works were displayed, but his name is not in the line-up of artists (Exhibition of Banners at the Tate Gallery Liverpool, 1989 more>>).

[6] According to Kozlov’s list and Ksenia Novikova’s Chronicle, a New Artists exhibition took place at the West Berlin Raab Gallery in September 1988.

[7] Most likely, ”London” refers to Art 89 at the Business Design Centre, London, February 1989 (Kozlov’s list and Chronicle). No further information available.

[8] Already in July 1987, Björn Lyrvall, vice-consul at the Swedish Consulate in Leningrad, stressed the importance of getting ahead with Stockholm’s Kulturhuset project, since there was now a risk of losing the New Artists to other curators:

    Despite a certain summer style regarding concerts and exhibitions, many of them have been busy in Moscow with film recordings and the film festival which just ended. It should also immediately be emphasized that during the weeks in Moscow, several American and English gallery owners interested in promoting the group approached Africa [Bugaev] and Timur. Although they both assure that they put an exhibition at Kulturhuset high on the list and do not at all intend to give all their work to the US, there may be good reasons to urgently proceed with the preparation of the manifestation more>>.

The mention of film recordings most probably refers to the film “ASSA”, featuring Sergei Bugaev in one of the main roles see Letter N Part 2>>.

[9] In Kozlov’s 1991 list, there is no Berlin auction, nor is there any such auction in Ksenia Novikova’s Chronicle. Where Kozlov’s paintings ended up in case the auction didn’t take place at all is another question.

[10] In philosophical terms, Kozlov’s concept might be explained as that of merging impulses from two different realms, where “cosmos” represents the realm of timelessness and “earth” the aspect of time as a succession of moments. The Russian verbal system (and that of other languages) renders this twofold concept by distinguishing between an imperfective and a perfective aspect of an action.

[11] The title of Spielberg’s film obviously inspired the New Composers, Kozlov’s friends, to their 1989 video-lecture Контакты Третьего рода, “Contacts of the Third Kind”, presented by the Science Fiction Creative Society they had founded at the Leningrad Planetarium around 1987. Kozlov was asked to create a logotype for their club more>>.

[12] The history of “alien” movies actually starts in 1924 with a Soviet production, Aelita, where the crew of a spaceship sent to Mars meets with the local civilisation (in the end, it all appears to have been nothing more than a daydream).

[13] The success of the Soviet space programme also had an impact on the first large Russian rave party in December 1991– Gagarin Party. The venue was the Cosmos pavilion at the VDNKh, (Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy), Moscow.

[14]  See also Empire and Magic. Sergey Kuryokhin's “Pop-Mekhanika No. 418” (1995)
Second, revised version 11 March 2020 (First version 13 August 2018)  page 11 • It's magic! more>>.

[15]  Kozlov writes Эстония, Estonia, as if speaking of an independent state.

[16]  Soviet citizens obtaining travel visas to capitalist countries were allowed to exchange and legally take with them up to 200 roubles at the official exchange rate of 1.6 (in 1989), which brought them an incredible 320 dollars, while the same amount of dollars sold for 3200 roubles on the black market. Hard currency exceeding the limit of 200 roubles had to be bought on the black market and smuggled out. Accordingly, the official value of the rouble, fixed by the Soviet state at an arbitrarily high level in view of foreign tourism, led to a drain in the dollar reserve when travelling started to go the other way. The discrepancy between these exchange rates eventually became a serious problem for the country’s economy, and in November 1989, the Soviet government devaluated the rouble. See also Esther B. Fein. Soviet Official Explains Ruble Devaluation, New York Times, Oct. 28, 1989 External link>>.

[17]  The rouble became convertible in 1992.

[18]  A Soviet law from 1987 allowed foreign capital investment in the form of joint ventures.

[19]  For instance, with Nina Andreyeva’s essay “Не могу поступаться принципами” (I cannot forsake my principles), published in Sovetskaya Rossiya in March 1988.

[20] Hannelore Fobo. (Е-Е) Evgenij Kozlov. USA-CCCP-CHINA more>>.




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter P to Catherine Mannick, envelope. Sent via registered mail, stamped presumably 20 March 1989. To protect privacy, the address of the sender was partly removed digitally.  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter P to Catherine Mannick, envelope. Sent via registered mail, stamped presumably 20 March 1989.
To protect privacy, the address of the sender was partly removed digitally.

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




 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 1, 17 March 1989  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 1, 17 March 1989

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

Page 1

17/III/89

Дорогая моя Катя!

Это я тебе так поцеловал смешно

Прости, что опять слишком долго молчал, но это сложное и прекрасное искусство, и мысли о нем, занимают все время. Часто хочу отвечать тебе и, конечно, под Рождество послал письмо, но, наверное, ты его не получила. Думаю, что вина в почте и только в ней, если не считать моей вины в том, что я не послал письмо заказной службой (понадеялся) и, следовательно, предоставил чиновникам безнаказанно делать с моей корреспонденцией что им угодно. Впрочем, возможно, письмо и дошло. Ну а если, все-таки, нет и ты так ничего обо мне и не знаешь, то что-нибудь напишу сейчас интересное.

Катя, большое тебе спасибо за все письма, за заботу обо мне (так по-женски), за беспокойство, за пожелания, за все то многое, что делаешь для меня. Мне важно знать и чувствовать, что я тебе нужен и интересен, хотя последнее время часто задумываюсь о том, что в связи с твоей новой семейной переменой, я говорю о браке, у тебя должно оставаться гораздо меньше времени для меня и сил тоже, и это естественно.




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 2, 17 March 1989  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 2, 17 March 1989

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

Page 2

Отношения муж – жена – работа это почти замкнутый круг, а если сюда включить и детей, то рамки становятся довольно твердыми.

Узнал из твоего последнего письма, что продолжаешь учиться и собираешься посетить СССР в этом году — здорово! Буду страшно рад нашей встрече! Вот только главное оказаться в то время в Ленинграде, т.к. может возникнуть желание уехать из СССР (или Ленинграда) куда-нибудь в этом году, т.к. перестройка сделала сейчас возможным выезд за границу. Некоторые из моих знакомых уже путешествовали и их впечатления мне показались довольно интересными, тем более, что лучше один раз увидеть все самому, как ты знаешь, чем 100 раз услышать. И если мои финансовые дела сейчас станут хорошими, а это вполне вероятно, или получу приглашение от галереи, что тоже возможно сейчас, то сразу поеду. Очень хочу отдохнуть и поменять обстановку. В круг моих интересов (или планов) попадали и USA, т.к. уже ведутся переговоры о выставке Современного Советского искусство в твоей стране. Скорее всего это будет New York  или Los Angeles. Посмотрим.

В прошлом году уже прошли выставки, где были и мои картины: в Stockholm, Copenhagen, W. Berlin, Los Angeles и в январе этого года состоялся показ в London. На обложках каталогов и плакатов печатались мои картины, так что я как-бы являлся



(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 3, 17 March 1989  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 3, 17 March 1989

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

Page 3

лицом Современного искусства — в этом что-то есть, не правда ли? Месяц назад подписал договор с одной из Московских галерей, которая занимается международной торговлей советского искусства, о поставке моих картин на западный рынок. В мае девять картин и скульптура поедут на аукцион в W. Berlin. Аукцион достаточно престижный, конкурент у Sothesby и  Christi (London). Но для меня в этом деле есть одно „Но“ или неудовлетворенность — это то, что в то время, когда я отбирал картины для аукциона, основные мои произведения еще не вернулись с Английской выставки, поэтому пришлось посылать в Германию холсты малых размеров и иного направления (что я называю POPs), и соответственно, как пройдет их реализация, черт его знает. Но поживем увидим.

Вообще планы большие. Рисовать хочется, но многое, слишком многое не могу реализовать из-за условий. Наверное это все-таки моя судьба. Правильно говорит гороскоп, что мой знак неспособен создавать себе условия для работы и, что только в случае хороших условий я буду способен сделать все отлично о чем думаю. Видимо необходимо менеджер. А сейчас работаю над двумя большими полотнами, посвященными тому, зачем посещают Земля пришельцы из Космоса, но разрабатываю




(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 4, 17 March 1989  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 4, 17 March 1989

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

Page 4

эту идею (вернее показываю) с точки зрения людей, хотя сам смотрю на все это с позиции пришельцев. Начал вводить в композиции обнаженные фигуры. И, конечно, по-прежнему интересует тема СССР-USA. Часто возвращаюсь к ней в живопись.

А теперь немного hot news

✮ По Современному  T.V. стали чаще показывать Западную культуру, особенно музыкальную.

✮ Сатирики официально заявляют (например Жванецкий), что капиталистический строи лучше социалистического на данном этапе. И не только сатирики!

✮ Ходят слухи, что рубль станет конвертирующей валютой ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ? ! ! ! !

✮ Ходят слухи, что Советские люди смогут свободно и официально пользоваться западной валютой.

✮ Сейчас, на черном ринке, американский доллар идет 1 к 10.

✮ В Ленинграде закрыли на ремонт гостиницу „Европейская“, но должна открыться с ремонта „Астория“ (ремонт делает финская Фирма).

✮ Появились Советские фермеры, но государство не может решить, на какой срок сдавать им в аренду землю – на 5 лет, на 10, или вечное пользование.




 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 5, 17 March 1989  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 5, 17 March 1989

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

Page 5

✮ На T.V. в телевикторине „Что? Где? Когда?“ принимает участие Американская команда (кажется студенты ЛГУ). 

✮ С ЛГУ сняли, как и со всех улиц и площадей СССР, имя Жданова. Так что теперь Ленинградский университет не носит имя врага народа — Жданова.

✮ Две недели назад над Петергофом и другими пригородами Ленинграда в течение 20 минут висела летающая тарелка — НЛО — Неопознанный Летающий Объект.

✮ По T.V. показали рассекреченную Американскую информацию об НЛО, которое 30 лет назад потерпела аварию над одной из американских военных баз. Показывали трупы инопланетян — биологических роботов.

✮ О[б] истории говорится и пишется почти все. Сталин — убийца и враг, Хрущев — молодец, Брежнев — дурак, Горбачев — революционер и надежда всего мира.

✮ Собираюсь взять Андрея юристом и поверенным в моих делах.

✮ Художники свободно рисуют и продают портреты и картин на улицах Ленинграде (например на Невском проспекте).

✮ В СССР будет давать гастроли Вилли Токарев. Недавно приезжал Frank Zappa. (Подарок для Юры).

✮ В Москве прошла, первый раз в СССР, выставка S. Dali.

✮ Эстония получила право вывешивать Свой национальный флаг.




 (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov  Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 6, 17 March 1989  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Special Collection, Harvard University

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

Letter P to Catherine Mannick, p. 6, 17 March 1989

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

Page 6

✮ Выходит книга сына Хрущева о своем отце – 500 страниц.

✮ Высказываются пожелания в прессе и T.V. о выпуске фотоальбомов о царских фамилиях.

✮ Открылись школы менеджеров.

✮ В магазинах с продуктами стало еще хуже, но ходят слухи, что будет (еще) лучше.

✮ Представляешь, видел Сиамских близнецов женского пола — две головы, два тела, четыре руку, один живот, две ноги.

✮ На меня стало очень сильно действовать Солнечная активность. Сутками не могу спать.

✮ В магазинах, уже два года, вообще нет кассет для магнитофонов. Но начали строительство завода совместно с BASF и, возможно, через 2-3 года положение нормализуется.

✮ Проводили конкурсы красоты — Miss Moscow, Miss Leningrad, Miss USSR.

✮ Вышло на экраны несколько фильмов о советских  проститутках и наркоманах

и т. д.

И вообще жизнь стала гораздо свободнее. Перестройка это действительно единственное решение сейчас и 95% населения страны ее поддерживают.

Но вот пожалуй и все.

Спасибо, Катя, за те прекрасные вещи что послала мне с Мариной. Я их ношу с удовольствием.

Пиши мне, пожалуйста.

Обнимаю и целую, Женя.




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 11 November 2023

Last updated 13 June 2024