(Е-Е) Evgenij Kozlov - Евгений Козлов

"Igor, peace between us? – Peace? No Way." Oil, collage, paper, 226 x 97 cm, 1989 - Collection Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Turku, Finland
"Valera. The Soul present Within Things." Oil, collage, paper, 226 x 85 cm, 1989 - Private collection, Finland

"Игорь, мир? Mир? – О, нет." Бумага, масло, 226 x 97 см, 1989
"Валера. Душа Вещей." Бумага, масло, 226 x 85 см, 1989

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Text by Hannelore Fobo, 2008 - 2010

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Subject matter

When Evgenij Kozlov and I discussed these works in 2007 – in the context of the exhibition at the Finnish National Gallery Kiasma in Helsinki, where they were gathered for the first time since 1989 –, the artist first noticed certain striking parallels with two large icons by Andrey Rublev from the 15th century, which were originally in the Uspensky Cathedral (the Cathedral of the Assumption) in Vladimir, but are now in the collection of the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

Andrey Rublev, Daniil Chorney (?) The Apostle Peter The Apostle Paul
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The following paragraph is a translation of the notes he spontaneously wrote down to express this view, without aiming to achieve a perfect train of thought.
Andrey Rublev, Daniil Chorney (?)
The Apostle Peter
The Apostle Paul
early 15th century

-        These portraits also remind us of icons by Andrey Rublev with standing apostles, in the collection of the Russian Museum.

 -       However, they remind us of these apostles not because of their old style (as icons), but because of their spirituality

 -      With icons, the image is always surrounded by a fine frame. We notice that this is also the case with my works

 -     There is a certain correspondence in the position of the feet

 -     And in the modern approach towards the depiction of the hands

 -     And in the line of the horizon

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 -     The clothes are different, but many other things are similar. It goes without saying that the clothes are different but the Russian soul undeniably lives in the art. Likewise, the hands do not hold a book but there is the badge or emblem “Soul of Things”.

 -     It is also interesting to note that both of Igor’s hands are hidden in his pockets, while from below a bony hand stretches out with a question, and he answers                                 “NO.”

 -     In Valery’s cross-fingered hands lies a secret meaning hidden, although he simply wears shorts, and this is a game in the positive sense of the word – a modern game.

 -     Around the head and between the five beams, there are seven dots, which makes up 12. 12, of course, and the 13th would be Christ.

-     And that hand from beneath the earth asks Igor: “Can we make peace?” to which he answers: “No.”

 (When exhibited Igor must be put to the left, Valera to his right)

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E-E (Evgenij Kozlov)
notes on "Igor" and "Valera", page 1, page 2, 30 x 21 cm each, 2007
As we see, these thoughts were not put in systematic order, nor were they worked out in detail. Rather, they might give us a clue to the nature of such possible parallels between artwork of the past and artwork of the present – works of art that most certainly possess the specific spirit of the time they represent.

While some might consider it difficult to compare pieces of art that are separated by more than five centuries, others might stress the similarities between their respective features and speak of a modern paraphrase of the old master.

The artist himself only noticed these similarities years after he had created his paintings. When he took the original photographs later used in his works, he did not ask his friends to pose in a particular way in order to interpret particular existing works. Moreover, the photographic portrait of Igor inspired a second painting from the same period ("Love, my sun"), absolutely different with regard to subject matter and composition, characterized by vivid, expressive colours.

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E-E (Evgenij Kozlov)
"Любовь моё солнце" "Love my sun"
90 x 150 cm, 1988 / 89

It cannot be denied, though, that the reference to Rublev's religious works of the 15th century is more than accidental. In this unexpected observation one might feel uneasy about likening the two apostles Peter and Paul, founders of the Christian Church, and the two musicians Igor and Valera of the Leningrad electronic music band "New Composers".

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