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

Text: Hannelore Fobo, 2021
Chapter 12: Closing comments
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Chapter 12: Closing comments

Reading through E-E Kozlov's diaries, it becomes obvious that the prospect of participating in the Second TEII Exhibition stimulated the artist to reflect about his own art and to exchange views with his fellow artists. With six works (seven, if we rely on the exhibition views), his contribution to this exhibition was large enough to bring together three different styles from three different periods –1981, 1982, and 1983 – thus creating a small retrospective, in a manner of speaking. In addition, his exhibition poster constitutes a fourth style.

But the early period of the 1980s also demonstrates that for Evgenij Kozlov, ‘‘systematical’ and ‘fast’ do not exclude each other mutually. They exist side by side, as theme and variation – in Kozlov's own words ‘exploring a subject through several paintings, not just a single one‘ (p. 4-41) .

Generally speaking, what can be noticed in the years following 1982 is a tendency away from romanticism to unusual, powerful stylistic combinations – of realistic painting with stencil painting, graffiti art, collage, or script, to give some examples. It appears that Kozlov succeeded in maintaining a state of being he described in early 1982:

    Добился состояния работоспособности, при котором полностью свободен и абсолютно смел. - Творчески П.С. – А.С. в формах /
    I have achieved a state of performance where I'm completely free and absolutely audacious.
    Completely free with respect to creation, absolutely audacious with respect to forms. (p. 3-16)

This dynamic evolution continued in what I would call a fast forward mode throughout the Leningrad period of 1980s, with collages and painted photographs, graffiti art, portraits, multifigure compositions and constructivist works, and of course after his Leningrad years, when he settled in Berlin.

Several years later, those four stylistic approaches seen at the Second TEII exhibition reappeared metamorphosed – not just in some paintings, but in a number of large-scale projects. Thus, the sublime meditative ‘Russian’ style from 1981 can be found in his works from recent years, carried out with ink on the reverse of the canvas (‘E-E WEIGHT SLEEP’, 2015 and later more >>). The vibrant narrative stye from the ‘Book of Hours’ introduces Kozlov's multi-layer, ‘chaotic’ narrative structures that have become particularly important in the new millenium, especially in the complex compositions from ‘Century XX’ (2008 to date more >>) he termed ‘CHAOSE art’.

The semi-realistic style from 1982/1983 is present in ‘Virtuoso Reality’ (1996 more >>), while the stencil technique employed by the Russian avant-garde has been brought to monumental, new forms of expression in the cycles ‘New Classicals’ (1989-1990 more >>) and ‘Miniatures in Paradise‘ (1995 more >>).

In this way, the intensity and boundless invention characterising Evgenij Kozlov's body of works can be traced back to some of its origins, specific and universal alike. A sentence from p. 4-43 might best sum up Kozlov‘s artistic will: ‘The subject of a painting must be clearly expressed and would constitute the extreme point of my desire in relation to myself as an artist’. 

Hannelore Fobo, 18 July 2021

Uploaded 18 July 2021
Last updated 21 July 2021