Evgenij Kozlov

The Leningrad Album

Song of Desire

deutsch русский


The album

The artistic evolution of the drawings

Song of Desire

•••••••• Song of Desire ••••••••

As an introduction and ending to the album, Evgenij Kozlov added two pages out of an autograph book, which he had found in his parents’ bookcase. Such books were very popular at the time. There are slits cut into the colored pencil drawings of flower ornaments for inserting dedication-photographs; the backs consist of poems in the style of folk love songs which were sung on different occasions. These rhymed dalliances and vows of love prelude the musical tone of the album with unwanted and wanted comical associations of great emotionalism combined with outspoken frankness.

"I write you with a trembling hand
And ache my poor heart does
Remember me! I'll remember you!
Please let not forget us

to be continued"


I offer you a little doggy
Hit it you must not
How to love a young man
In due time it will have taught"

In a similar manner young Evgenij wrote one line of a song which now gives the album its subtitle. With its steady rhythm it makes up a kind of early rap:

“Vméste v shkólu my idyóm
pésny módnye poyóm”

Which can be translated into English as follows:

“We are on our way to school
singing songs hip and cool”

The hip songs, the songs of the young urban generation, that wasn’t country folklore of course but like everywhere in the world at the time it was the songs of the Beatles and Rolling Stones which were sung. The teenagers sing along enthusiastically, even though they don’t understand the lyrics and so they just go by the sound. This is how

"Can't buy me lo-ove, everybody tells me so"

turns into

"Can't babilo-on, everybody tell me ton"

(to be found in one of the texts)

That is the music for the visits and the parties when the parents aren’t at home. Justly this music was feared and condemned to have a disinhibiting effect by all parents worldwide. The entrancing yeah-yeah rhythm helps to overcome the shame and embarrassment which stands in the way of the wish to show a new and changed body.

The rhythm’s equivalent in the drawings is “E-E” (also pronounced in Russian as yeah-yeah) with which Evgenij Kozlov expresses his fundamental artistic feeling: a continual spiritual awakening, which arouses in him the desire to create the maximum extent of existence with maximum devotion. The utmost extent of life arises from the polarity of phenomenons and their connection to each other. In the polarity of the sexes lies its most abundant potential. “E-E” refers to it as proclamation and comment all at the same time. “E-E” is its style.

Accordingly, the artist uses the texts within the drawings to develop this evident connection, this question and answer game of the girls among themselves or of the girls with the boy. It is the ritual of self-assurance which culminates in the question “Am I pretty?”, “Am I desirable?”. Therefore, this whole album is not dedicated to “it” by itself (this “going all the way” is only hinted to a few times) but to what is generally called the foreplay and which , if understood correctly, is already a fulfillment in itself. For it is the game of approaching each other which actually erects the relationship between the sexes, and this ever-lasting issue, which is discovered by every generation anew, is given here, despite its lightheartedness, a kind of archaic solemnity.

This Song of Songs can only be sung by a person who hasn’t yet learned to offer what he wants to give in exchange to what he wants to have. That is why the drawings in spite of their candor are still of a tender chastity.

And so the Leningrad Album is set aside only to be opened up again and again and to become absorbed in it – in the beauty of the bodies, in the clever faces, in the comical dialogues, in the affectionately created details of the interior, with its typical sixties and seventies furnishings, with the artistically draped garments, the stylish tape recorder playing the newest hits, and the meditative view through the window into the silvery, satin, marble night of Leningrad....
"Favourite book?! dedicated to all youth and men in the world throughout the XXI, XXVI, XXXIX and LXIV centuries".

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