Left: Exhibition on Palace Bridge, Leningrad 1990 more>>
Right: (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov.
The exhibition displayed five works from his “New Classicals” cycle, six works from his “Collection 2x3m”, as well as several other works.
Photo: Hannelore Fobo
The following text is an extended version of the introduction to ‘New Cassicals’, printed on a 143 cm zigzag-fold leaflet and edited by (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov and Hannelore Fobo for the exhibition ‘Notes from the Underground’, Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, Poland, 2016 more >>
The Subject of Universal Love
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov at his studio «Russkoee Polee» («The Russian Field»), Leningrad, Fontanka 145, 1989 - 1991.
In the background:
Love for the Cosmos (left) and Love for the Wonderful (right,
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov’s cycle from 1989 / 1990 ‘Новая Классика’, (‘Novaya Klassika / New Classicals’) has no connection with classicism, either in style or in content. The six motifs, representing allegories of love, were first developed for compositions produced on wooden bus stop signs: Love for Man, Love for Woman, Love for the Earth, Love for Work, Love for the Wonderful, and Love for the Cosmos. The artist then carried them out on canvas, each in a 2x3m format, with Love for the Earth and Love for the Wonderful having both a ‘day’ version and a ‘night’ version. The seventh motif, Love for God, has not yet been realised.
These seven aspects of love can be considered as categories in the Aristotelian sense: taken together, they reflect the entire potential of ‘Love’. It is a potential to be realised on Earth – by human beings. ‘Love’ is therefore a later phenomenon with regard to wisdom, which Aristotle received, in its intellectual form, from Cosmos.
It is no coincidence that the subject of universal love appeared in 1989: In his text from the early 1990s dedicated to the New Classicals cycle, Kozlov stated that Нов Класс. возникла на пике распада империи˚ / ‘New Classicals’ emerged at the height of the collapse of the empire more >>. Like other totalitarian systems, Soviet communism tried to instill in people a feeling of hatred towards certain ‘categories’ of other people – class enemies –, thereby justifying its repressive apparatus. The doctrine of hatred was overcome when the Berlin wall tumbled down in 1989. In 1988, Kozlov already created his important work ‘Points of Contact’, where the USSR and the USA are depicted as a couple – it is love that binds together antagonistic forces more >>. The same abstract symbols of a man and a woman reappear in the ‘New Classicals’ series.
In his ‘New Classicals’ text, Kozlov analysed his choice of signs or symbols:
‘Необходимо было найти основные знаки (символы) деятельности человека, понятные и любимые им, +, которые несут в себе положительный заряд и, действуют на него по принципу Вечного Двигателя: МУЖЧИНА – ЖЕНЩИНА – ЗЕМЛЯ – РАБОТА – ПРЕКРАСНОЕ. - КОСМОС – БОГ.
I had to find those basic signs (symbols) from the sphere of human activity that people understand and love, +, signs carrying a positive charge and acting upon people according to the principle of the Eternal Mover:
MAN – WOMAN – EARTH – WORK – THE WONDERFUL – COSMOS – GOD.
The text continues
There is an interesting differentiation between those signs ‘acting upon people according to the principles of the Eternal Mover’ – the seven categories of love – and those others ‘signs’: light, colour and form. Although light, colour and form constitute an integral part of the former, they are brought into the world by human beings through a work of art – inspired by love.
Hence, a work of art is an individualised manifestation of love for sense perception. For Kozlov, however, such a material form is secondary with respect to the process leading towards it, where light, colour, and form possess a non-material reality of their own.
In 2009, Kozlov defined non-material reality or substance present in a work of art as its ‘spiritual layer’. Thus, in a work on paper the spiritual layer ‘is located between the paper and the paint applied by the artist. The spiritual layer allows the observer to perceive the picture not only as a flat surface, but also as a three-dimensional image, in other words, to perceive its form from the paper’s side’. more>> . (See also ‘About colour and space’ / О цвете и пространстве • Über Farbe und Raum, Russian / German more>>)
The main elements of the paintings are figurative – but all the forms are abstract, and have been placed into position using sharp-edged stencils. With some of the compositions this creates a lyrical effect similar to Matisse’s cut-outs, while others appear more sculpturesque and plastic, like the woodcutter in Malevich’s eponymous painting from 1912.
The artist’s heritage, which harks back to the constructivist artists, is evident in this series, but the figures he has created represent new archetypes, and the way they relate to each other is new: they are ‘New Classicals’. In other words, upon completion of the series, Kozlov expressed, via the title, his idea that although they were new, the works had already become classical.
Yet ‘classical’ has a further meaning, referring to a human being's process of creation in a general way.
In 1991, Evgenij Kozlov explained the terms ‘Classical’ and ‘New Classicals’ in an outline of his ideas regarding ‘the art of the future’. The main point is to define ‘art’ as ‘the art within’ (‘the art of the future’), a complex inner or spiritual process which the human being expresses via something tangible to the senses – the ‘work of art’. A ‘work of art’ is, therefore, something that has somehow been ‘actualised’. This corresponds to his statement in the ‘New Classicals‘ text: light, colour, and form are being born by humans.
Evgenij Kozlov calls this material result ‘the classical approach’ to art: a work of art cannot be anything but classical in nature, although, as we have seen above, for Kozlov, the non-material ‘spiritual layer’ is still contained in it.
As a consequence, attention must be given first and foremost to the process of which – according to Evgenij Kozlov – people are gradually attaining a degree of conscious awareness:
Beyond this classical approach, the truly new direction in art is that which evolves within the person who is at one and the same time creating it. To understand this art in terms of all its implications, a certain inner freedom is required, a freedom which also needs to be present in terms of external factors. What is essential is that the person feel and see those forces within him or herself that are helping to create this new work within the inner realm. If one feels these forces, and is aware of them and can see them – if this world comes into being within oneself, then regardless of what one creates, the same will be intelligible and indispensable to everyone else. For what transpires within to allow this art to develop internally exists only to lend visual form to the given information. It thus becomes impossible to deny it its visual existence. The artist’s task is to give it visual form.
(The Art of the Future, 1991 more >>)
Three works from the cycle New Classicals on bus stop signs
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Three works from the cycle New Classicals
Two-sided, on bus-stop signs. Oil on wood, 42.5 x 59.9 x 2 cm, 1989
Left: Untitled (Love for the Cosmos / Love for Work)
Centre: Untitled (Love for the Wonderful / Love for the Earth)
Right: Untitled (Love for Man / Love for Woman)
other works on bus stop signs>>
The motifs developed for the bus stop signs became the prototypes for the works on canvas, but as regards the choice of colours, Evgenij Kozlov now approached the question in a more systematic way. Keeping the colours of ‘Love for Woman’ and ‘Love for Man’, he assigned one of the seven colours of the rainbow to each motif: ‘Любовь к Мужчине’ (‘Love for Man’, red), ‘Любовь к Работе’ (‘Love for Work’, orange), ‘Любовь к Женщине’ (‘Love for Woman’, yellow), ‘Любовь к Земле’ (‘Love for the Earth’, green), ‘Любовь к Прекрасному’ (‘Love for the Wonderful’, blue), ‘Любовь к Космосу’ (‘Love for the Cosmos’, light blue). As mentioned before, the seventh motif, ‘Любовь к Богу’ (‘Love for God’, violet) has not yet been realised.
|Love for Man, red, 1989
||Love for Woman, yellow, 1989
||Love for the Earth, green, 1990
|Love for the Wonderful, blue, 1990
||Love for Work’, orange, 1990
||Love for the Cosmos, light blue, 1990
As stated above, for Kozlov, light, colour, and form possess a non-material reality of their own, prior to sense perception. Thus, the ‘New Classicals’ text from the early 1990s sets ‘the basic essence of the seven main colours from people’s life spectrum’ in relation to specific attributes that are not necessarily defined by tradition. Among these colours, the one assigned to Love for God is beyond the spectrum of visible light – at least ideally, since violet is substituted by ultraviolet. Note that Russian небо / nebo can be translated both as ‘sky’ and ‘heaven’. more >>
? light blue
– activity, power , blood, fire
– sun, birth
– growth, plants (grass, tree), living shell (skin) of planets.
– the desire to unite – to merge with the dream, the pursuit of the accessible-inaccessible
– immersion, motion, movement on the global cosmic level
– sky [heaven], the future, life within the universe, the drive for the cosmos.
light as ultraviolet light beams invisible for human beings
penetrating the entire universe.
They are vital for people in small proportions,
but because of God they are not penetrating people
with all their huge infinite mightiness
[…] in the sky [in heaven] on another level. In nature this colour is less frequent than others, and people understand it to a lesser degree.
In 2015, Kozlov created another set of key terms defining the quality of colours, but kept the symbols associated with each colour. Thus, the keyword for light blue – "Love for the Cosmos” – is now новость, or “novelty”, while text from the 1990s paraphrases it as “sky [heaven], the future, life within the universe, the drive for the cosmos.” The new scheme expresses the qualities of colours in a succint way – by a single term instead of several.
Kozlov laid out the scheme on a red graph paper in A4 format, thereby rearranging the colours and their symbols according to the sequence displayed in a rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, (light) blue, blue (indigo), violet. The 2015 scheme defines the keywords as follows: Love for Man (red) – сила / strength; Love for Work (orange) – движение / movement; Love for Woman (yellow) – sex; Love for the Earth (green) – материя / matter; Love for the Cosmos (light blue) – новость / novelty; Love for the Wonderful (blue) – духовность / spirituality; Love for God (violet) – любовь / love.
A frame drawn with a pencil sets apart the first six “types” of love from the seventh. In the artist's words, only the seventh, Love for God is completely unrelated to matter, while all the others are related to matter to a lesser or larger degree. Therefore love in its purest form is "Love for God“, equalling "Love for Love”.
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
Scheme defining the seven colours of the rainbow,
their symbols and their qualities
Marker and pencil on graph paper
29.6 x 20.9 cm, 2015
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Kozlov's Text from 1993
Page 3: Studio Views
Page 4: Silkscreen Prints, 1995-1997
Page 5: Exhibitions
Uploaded 7 April 2019
Last updated 19 August 2019