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      (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: Exhibitions >>

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov's Participation in the Second TEII Exhibition (1983)
in His Diary and Photographs

Text: Hannelore Fobo, 2021
Chapter 2: Notes to Kozlov's exhibition lists in his diary
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Chapter 2: Notes to Kozlov's exhibition lists in his diary

Analysing Kozlov's diary entries, it is possible to determine a number of steps marking the process of selecting the works for the exhibition. I defined eight such steps. Some of them are lists in the proper sense of the word, with numbered entries, while others are simply reflections on what should be included or excluded. For the sake of simplicity, I decided to call each step a ‘list’.

These lists can be separated into three sections: a preliminary selection (end of February 1983), a changed selection (29 March 1983), and a reduced selection (1/2 April 1983), which led to Kozlov's removal of two works on 2 April, before the opening of the exhibition. This happened after the municipal exhibition committee had approved them on 1 April, and, by all accounts, after he had hung his works on the wall of the exhibition hall. Exhibition views taken at the opening on 5 April complete these lists.

Establishing the lists was a challenge. The difficulties I encountered have arisen not only, but also, from the fact that quite often, titles cannot be attributed to works unambiguously. Most of the paintings discussed are no longer in Kozlov’s collection, and no reproductions exist of the reverse sides of paintings that could provide information about titles and technique, or dimensions. The situation is slightly better with the works on paper, because some are actually still in the artist's own collection. Over the years, I have nevertheless been able to reconnect works to their titles with an acceptable degree of exactness. I did so with the help of various sources and with what the artists remembers or finds plausible.

In some cases, attribution of a specific title to a specific work remains uncertain, although plausible, for instance for the painting ‘WASP’. There is a description in Diary IV indicating title, dimensions and technique (p. 4-26), and there is a picture from the exhibition; according ot the artist, description and picture must belong together. At any rate, no other painting documented matches the title.

Regarding the exhibition, ‘WASP’ is also mentioned as a work on paper on p. 4-47, although it was the painting ‘WASP’ that was displayed. This is not the only case where one and the same title may have been given or was actually given to different works: ‘Дом / House’ refers to a work on paper, but also to a painting.

We encounter the same problem with shortened versions of titles: on p. 4-45, ‘XX’ probably stands on its own, belonging to a work of which only the lower border is documented (see previous chapter). There is in fact an entry from the end of 1982 (p. 3-51) treating ‘XX’ as a geometrical symbol divided into triangular figures of a 4 to 4 ratio, which gives it a mystical dimension, like the Pythagoreans’ tetractys.

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Diary IV, pp. 3-50-51

(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov. Diary IV, pp. 3-50-51

But ‘XX’ also stands in brackets after WASP on p 4-31, which means that it could be a second or alternative title of ‘WASP’. What is more, it might be a reference to ‘Sit Venia Verbo. Традиции ХХ века. / ’Sit Venia Verbo. Traditions of the XX Century’, created around the time of the exhibition. XX as a shortcut for the twentieth century is not unlikely. ‘Конец ХХ’, end of XX, stands at the top of p.3-51.

If a title may have several references, a work may have several titles, for instance a long title as well as a short title, as in Дом / House and Дом (прихожане в церкви) / House (Parishioners in Church); here, the attribute ‘Parishioners in Church’ relates to the title of the drawing inspiring the painting.

Last but not least, Kozlov occasionally changed a title entirely – especially (but not only) when he overpainted the work later. In such a case, he also overpainted the title written on the reverse, as in ‘House’, which became ‘Мелкий расстрел / Minor Target Shooting’, probably around 1986/1987.

Given these uncertainties, conclusions must also remain hypothetical.