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

      E-E Evgenij Kozlov: art

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov


Works on paper

English text
Figuration. Arbeiten auf Papier. Deutscher Text >>

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov

untitled (from the series
To Olga from Valery)
1989 / 1997. 33.5 x 25.3 cm, ballpoint pen, spray, cardboard
Inv.nr. E-E-197159

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov.
Works on paper

After the success of The Leningrad Album [1], a series of Evgenij Kozlov’s early drawings, 150 of which were exhibited at the 55th Biennale di Venezia (2013), we had a wish to present stylistically related series. We have decided upon The Seventies, To Olga from Valery, The Book of Hours and The Italian Series. [2] The individual works that these series comprise share a thematic connection, which is also manifested formally in paper and technique.

The small paper size – up to approximately 70 x 50 cm [3] – iis perfect for creating figures, forms and symbols and developing them over a number of drawings. It allows the artist to vary and diversify the figures and their relations to each other in multiple ways; in a sense, the figures obtain a biography. Thus, narratives are created that often span long periods of time, e.g. E-E Сказка / E-E Fairy Tale (1982–2007) [4], „The Book for People, Princesses and Princes (1991–2007) [5], or the cycle Century XX (from 2008 until now) with its more than 450 original graphics and as many so-called “light boxes” [6].

Evgenij Kozlov’s gift as a graphic artist manifests itself in the confidence with which he draws every line as he creates the finest, often only barely indicated, details for his sometimes minimalistic, sometimes highly complex and extravagant compositions. This confidence is the basis for the most challenging task of art: to depict through gestures and facial expressions the figures’ emotional and spiritual states. [7] In his figures, we experience knowledge, strength, will, desire, excitement, self-abandonment, joy, severity, shyness, absorption, adoration, sentimentality, wonder, passion, gentleness and much more; at the same time, there always remains something that cannot be defined. The beauty of the bodies, the intelligence of the faces, and the subtle humour of the pictures are like a ripe sweetness that appeals to the viewer in a very intimate way. [8] The liveliness of perception brings all other parts of the composition to life, so the term “figuration” applies also to non-figurative, abstract and ornamental forms, letters and fonts. In figuration, the meaning lies, therefore, in the picture itself, in its particular harmony, as opposed to illustration, which refers to a thought outside the work of art.

When the artist selects colouring materials, he introduces each particular effect for a specific purpose.  Besides such traditional materials as the lead pencil, coloured pencils, tusche and ink, he uses the  ballpoint pen, spray paint, touch-up pencils, glitter pens, high-gloss lacquers applied directly out of fine-tipped tubes, appliques made with adhesive tape, strips, photo collages and newspaper clippings, etc. All of these are also used in combination with technical printing processes [9], as in the monotypes from the series The Angels of the Russian Field [10] or when using specially made stencils (Miniatures in Paradise [11]).

The specific quality of the paper is always taken into account. This includes its colour, consistency and strength. Transparent paper allows the image to shine through, which also allows the artist to design the reverse side. In Drawings on Transparent Paper [12], the pencil drawings on the front are complemented on the back using a white touch-up pencil, which leads to two completely different views. Absorbent paper, on the other hand, allows liquid paint to seep in, or rather through, and these "seeped-through" prints also create a second view (The Italian Series). The back side can also be supplemented with a graphic element in the form of the name, as in the nineteen graphics of The Pink Album [13]. Besides, the paper may be printed (The Book of Hours) or already painted by other people, as in Century XX. Here, the artist integrates nude drawings by amateurs and completely transforms them.

While most contemporary artists use the variety of media to emphasise the fragmentary, the incomplete, the arbitrary and the unshaped in a work of art [14], Evgenij Kozlov directs his compositions through these stages towards a conscious conclusion – towards the aforementioned harmony, a key concept for his understanding of art. [15] For this reason, the small works on paper, which to a certain extent form the essence of the artistic idea, become inimitable and precious. In the cycle Century XX, the artist described them as follows: "Diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies of contemporary art, and also amber with flies."

Out of this self-created wealth, the artist also draws inspiration for his paintings without denying the origin of the images: on canvas, lines and contours often preserve the characteristic graphic look present in the small drawings. However, if the large pictures make the viewer step out of himself, as if confronted with something that is not of this world, with the works on paper, he remains completely himself. The viewer has the feeling that this work of art is created especially for him, which sometimes arouses in him a certain solemnity.

Hannelore Fobo, 2013

Translated by Tatyana Zyulikova

Семидесятые / The Seventies / Die Siebziger >>

Ольге от Валерия / To Olga from Valery / Für Olga von Valerij >>

Часослов / The Book of Hours / Das Stundenbuch >>

Итальянская серия / The Italian series / Die Italienische Serie >>

[1] Ленинградский альбом / The Leningrad Album / Das Leningrader Album, 256 drawings with text, approximately 30 x 21 cm, 1967–1973.

[2] Семидесятые / The Seventies / Die Siebziger, eight graphics and a cover, completed in 2004. 

Ольге от Валерия / To Olga from Valery / Für Olga von Valerij, five graphics 1989/1997, complemented with four paintings. 

Часослов / The Book of Hours / Das Stundenbuch, 20 graphics, 2005. 

Итальянская серия / The Italian Series / Die Italienische Serie, 11 works, 2005 / 2007.

[3] There are also works on paper in larger sizes (up to 510 x 220 cm). However, these are mostly elaborations of sketches or drawings created parallel to paintings.

[4] A total of 171 pictures, http://www.e-e.eu/art-3.html

[5] Книга для Людей, Принцесс и Принцев / The Book for People, Princesses and Princes / Das Buch für Leute, Prinzessinnen und Prinzen, http://www.e-e.eu/Princes/index.html

[6] Век ХХ / Century XX / Jahrhundert XX, http://www.e-e.eu/Century_XX/index.htm

[7] The most famous example is Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

[8] Massimiliano Gioni, the curator of the 55th Biennale di Venezia, about The Leningrad Album: „It is such a powerful, beautiful thing that I kept thinking and thinking and thinking of it. ... It is one of these things that really stuck in my memory for a long time.“  http://www.e-e.eu/Massimiliano-Gioni/interview-with-Massimiliano-Gioni.htm

[9] We always speak here of the originals. There also exist reproduction prints (lithography, screen printing, relief printing, drypoint, aquatint).

[10] Ангелы Русского Поля / The Angels of the Russian Field / Die Engel des Russischen Feldes, 12 overpainted monotypes, 1994.

[11] Миниатюры в Раю / Miniatures in Paradise / Miniaturen im Paradies, here specifically the "small" miniatures. 

http://www.e-e.eu/Miniatures-in-Paradise/Miniaturen-im-Paradies-1.htm (German / Russian)

[12] Fifty drawings on transparent paper, 1995–2001.

[13] Розовый альбом / The Pink Album / Das Rosa Album.  Nineteen works and a cover, 1991/1994, framed on both sides.

[14] For example, Martin Kippenberger oder Jonathan Meese

[15] See CHAOSE ART, a concept in the theory of art coined by Evgenij Kozlov.