(E-E) Ev.g.e.n.i.j ..K.o.z.l.o.v Berlin
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Exhibitions >> Leningrad 80s >>
The New Artists • Новые художники
Leningrad, Sverdlov House of Culture, 22-25 April 1988
Reconstructing the exhibition.
Pictures from (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov’s and Alexander Savatyugin’s archives allow us to reconstruct the hanging of the exhibits, although not precisely, as neither Kozlov nor Savatyugin intended to document the exhibition in its entirety, but paid attention to specific aspects.
Apparently, both Kozlov and Savatyugin took their pictures - 35mm black and white negative films – on the same occasion: on the afternoon of the 24th April, which saw a number of festival activities announced by the exhibition poster: the round table discussion and the stage performance of artists, musicians and film makers.
Thus, the largest part of Kozlov’s pictures show the performance of the New Composers, while some others document the exhibition, in the first place artists and their works. Kozlov poses in front of “Anna Karenina 1”, the fourth of his works at the exhibition, and Oleg Kotelnikov and New Composer Igor Verichev present their works.Alexander Savatyugin (Александр Саватюгин), born in Leningrad in 1967, is a well-known professional photographer and graphic designer. At the end of the 1980s, when he and his friends created the “Institute of New Photography”, Savatyugin got involved with Leningrad’s art-scene. Savytyugin’s main interest are portraits and Saint Petersburg urban landscapes. His photographs of the New Artists exhibition catch the relaxed atmosphere created by artists and visitors as they were listening to the speeches or looking at the art works and performances. They brought along their children who explored the place on their own.
The light conditions were less than ideal for taking pictures, and the use of a photoflash was of no great help for covering large distances. Judging by the blurring of moving and even stationary elements, photos were taken at slow shutter speed and without a tripod.
A number of images are therefore out of focus. Furthermore, part of the negative strips from Kozlov’s films are missing, which creates an additional problem. In these cases, images had to be scanned from contact sheets, while Savatyugin‘s pictures were scanned from the negative films, which obviously led to better results.
Two pictures from Andrey Khlobystin‘s archive, taken by an unknown photographer, complete the views.
The number of artists participating at the Sverdlov House of Culture exhibition varies according to the respective sources: while the New Artists’ poster has the names of eight artists (Sergei Bugaev, Oleg Kotelnikov Evgenij Kozlov, Ivan Sotnikov, Timur Novikov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Inal Savchenkov, and Evgeny Yufit), the booklet, lists only seven artists, missing out Evgeny Yufit.
There is yet a third – unofficial – document, written by Timur Novikov and displayed at the exhibition (It was reprinted in Khlobystin’s book Shizorevolutsiia on p. 98). This document or flyer lists twenty-three artists – twenty-four, if we include Novikov's pseudonym Igor Potapov. The lineup includes Sergei Bugaev, Oleg Kotelnikov, Ivan Sotnikov, Evgenij Kozlov, Timur Novikov, Ivan Savchenkov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Oleg Maslov, Kirill Khazanovich, Evgeny Yufit, Georgy Guryanov, Viktor Tsoy, Andrey Khlobystin, Sergey Savchenkov [Enkov], Alexander Ovchinnikov, Andrey Krisanov, Alexey Kozin, Dmitry Egorov, Oleg Zaika, Igor Smirnov, Igor Verichev, Vladislav Gutsevich, Igor Potapov [Timur Novikov], and German. The concluding sentence, however, is "Могло бы быть и больше” – There might have been more.
Although perestroika was well under way, censorship, carried out by a superordinate exhibition committee (выставком — выставочный комитет), might have remained a potential threat. But as the New Artists had been invited by “Vernissage”, which enjoyed an official status at the Sverdlov House of Culture as a “creative association”, it is likely that there was no superior organisation committee in charge of approving the works to be displayed. At least this is the conclusion we can draw from Novikov’s text, telling us that there was absolutely no selection principle of works exhibited:
The exhibition was organised in the following way: everybody brought along what they saw fit, and no one selected anything from anyone else.
This is obviously the reason why Novikvo’s list is very long and comprises several “untypical” New Artists names – Dmitry Egorov, Igor Smirnov, and German.
The difference between the printed and the self-released publications concerns not only the number of artists, but also their definition as either a group or a movement. The printed texts present the New Artists as a group, while Novikov speaks of a movement: “скорее движение, чем группа” / rather a movement than a group. I discussed the New Artists‘ evolution from a group to a movement, as Novikov saw it, in Chapters (pages) 1 and 7 of my article “Timur Novikov’s Artists‘ Lists”. more >>
The overall number of works displayed amounts to almost ninety, half of which could be (so far) attributed to their respective author. In many cases, it is also possible to identify a particular work with their title or refer to other sources.
These works belong to sixteen artists: Sergei Bugaev, Vladislav Gutsevich, Andrey Khlobystin, Maya Khlobystina, Oleg Kotelnikov, Evgenij Kozlov, Oleg Maslov and Alexei Kozin (one or several joint works), Timur Novikov, Alexander Ovchinnikov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Inal Savchenkov, Ivan Sotnikov, Viktor Tsoi, Igor Verichev, and Oleg Zaika. Of these artists, Maya Khlobystina is not mentioned in Novikov’s list, so she belongs to the category “There might have been more”.
Of course, this doesn’t exclude the possibility that these artists had also created some of the unidentified works. It appears that a general principle of the hanging was that works by a specific artist would be displayed next to each other, whenever possible. For instance, as Nos. 38 and 39 can be attributed to Oleg Kotelnikov, it is reasonable to assume that No. 40, an unidentified work displayed on the same movable wall as Nos. 38 and 39, is also Kotelnikov’s work.
Yet, it is far from certain that the remaining eight artists from Novikov’s list actually all had their works displayed: Kirill Khazanovich, Evgeny Yufit, Georgy Guryanov, Sergey Savchenkov [Enkov], Andrey Krisanov, Dmitry Egorov, Igor Smirnov, and German.
On the other hand, Igor Smirnov participated in the New Composers‘ performance, and (according to Kostya Mitinev) Evgeny Yufit showed his films during the performance. Kostya Mitinev also showed a film, a co-production with Evgeny Kondratev and Inal Savchenkov, which adds another two names to the list, if we include the films – Mitenev‘s and Kondratev‘s.
I am, however, confident that the online reconstruction of the exhibition will help identify the other works – perhaps not all of them, but many more.