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      (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: exhibitions >> Leningrad 80s >>

PERESTROIKA IN THE AVANT-GARDE:
The New Artists at Liverpool

Bluecoat Gallery and Tate Gallery, January / February 1989

Research and Text: Hannelore Fobo, April / October 2020
Page 1: Introduction. From Stockholm to Liverpool.
Page 2: The New Artists exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery >>
Page 3: The exhibition logo >>
Page 4: The Exhibition of Banners at the Tate Gallery Liverpool
Page 5 The Bluecoat Gallery press release >>



The Exhibition of Banners at the Tate Gallery Liverpool, 28 January – 5 February 1989

One of the events announced on the Bluecoat festival poster is a lecture Timur Novikov gave at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool, on 1 February 1989.

The festival organisers, supposedly having been asked by Novikov, suggested the Tate Gallery “a hanging of flags and canvases off their stretchers for one week” with works the artists would bring directly from Leningrad. The technical questions regarding both the lecture and the exhibition were discussed between Collin Fallows, co-organiser of the festival, and Lewis Biggs, Curator at the Tate Liverpool, at the end of 1988.

Since Pop Mekhanika musicians and artists Novikov and Bugaev – who were to perform at the Pop Mekhanika concert – were expected to arrive from Leningrad on 27 January 1989, the “exhibition of banners” was agreed upon for the period between 28 January and 5 February 1989, presumably on the same premises where Novikov gave his lecture, on the first floor of the Tate Gallery Liverpool.

In this way, Liverpool saw two parallel New Artists exhibitions: the main exhibition of the New Artists which opened on 21 February at the Bluecoat Gallery with works coming directly from the previous New Artists' show in Copenhagen, and a second exhibition at the Tate Liverpool which, in all likelihood, had no specific title other than “exhibition of banners” – this is how Lewis Biggs referred to it in his letter to Collln Fallows from 9 December 1988.

Perhaps, the exhibition was to recreate the concept of artists‘ works used as backdrops for Sergey Kuryohkin‘s Leningrad Pop-Mekhanika concerts, as Sergey Kuryohkin did not use this possiblity for his Liverpool concert, although the Pop-Mekhanika performance at St George’s Hall on 30 January was the festival‘s main event and also the central subject of the BBC’s documentation on the festival. Yet no typical New Artist "banner" appeared at the concert – they were, in fact, all at the Tate Gallery Liverpool. Kuryokhin opted for a large portrait of Brezhnev instead, propably as an easily understood political symbol, since the Soviet leader stands for stagnation and cold war. More about the Liverpool concert in: "Pop Mekahnika in the West, page 4 >>

Thanks to the BBC documentary (available on YouTube), we get aslo an idea of the “exhibition of banners”, because the film shows Timur Novikov and Sergei Bugaev (Afrika) hanging some of the exhibits. Unfortunately, the documentary does not allow us to reconstruct the entire exhibition, but judging by what we see, most works were made on textile and only some displayed on stretchers. We recognise works by Novikov (for the most part, from his “Horizon” series), by Bugaev, and one large work by (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov – CCCP in a 193 x 583 cm format.

Video frame from a BBC documentary about Sergey Kuryokhin‘s Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics) concert during the festival "Perestroika in the Avant-Garde", Liverpool, 1989 The BBC festival documentary is available on YouTube in two parts (part one >> and part two >>) under the heading "Sergei Kuriokhin & Pop-Mekahnika Liverpool 1989”. The video frame from part one shows Timur Novikov and Sergei Bugaev in the process of hanging Kozlov‘s painting CCCP (white paint on red calico, 192 x 583 cm, 1987), to one of the walls of the Tate Liverpool. Left: a work by Timur Novikov; right: works by Sergei Bugaev

Video frame from a BBC documentary about Sergey Kuryokhin‘s Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics) concert
during the festival "Perestroika in the Avant-Garde", Liverpool, 1989
The BBC festival documentary is available on YouTube in two parts (part one >> and part two >>)
under the heading "Sergei Kuriokhin & Pop-Mekahnika Liverpool 1989”.
The video frame from part one shows Timur Novikov and Sergei Bugaev in the process of
hanging Kozlov‘s painting CCCP (white paint on red calico, 192 x 583 cm, 1987 more >>) to one of the walls of the Tate Liverpool.
Left: a work by Timur Novikov; right: works by Sergei Bugaev



Video frame from a BBC documentary about Sergey Kuryokhin‘s Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics) concert during the festival "Perestroika in the Avant-Garde", Liverpool, 1989. Video frame from a BBC documentary about Sergey Kuryokhin‘s Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics) concert during the festival "Perestroika in the Avant-Garde", Liverpool, 1989.
Video frame from a BBC documentary about Sergey Kuryokhin‘s Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics) concert during the festival "Perestroika in the Avant-Garde", Liverpool, 1989. Video frame from a BBC documentary about Sergey Kuryokhin‘s Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics) concert during the festival "Perestroika in the Avant-Garde", Liverpool, 1989.

Video frames from a BBC documentary about Sergey Kuryokhin‘s Pop Mekhanika (Popular Mechanics) concert during the festival "Perestroika in the Avant-Garde", Liverpool, 1989.
The BBC festival documentary is available on YouTube in two parts (part one >> and part two >>) under the heading "Sergei Kuriokhin & Pop-Mekahnika Liverpool 1989”.

Left column, top: Timur Novikov hanging his works at the Tate Gallery Liverpool for an "Exhibition of Banners" part one >>;
bottom: Detail of one of Novikov's "Horizons". part one >>
Right column, top: View of the entrance to the Tate Gallery Liverpool part two >>
bottom: Sergei Bugaev hanging one of his works part one >>.



Ksenia Novikova’s “Chronicle” of New Artists events, printed in the New Artists catalogue of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2012, refers to this exhibition as “Tate Liverpool. Timur Novikov & Afrika” (page 279), and it is not clear why Kozlov’s name was omitted from the list of names. His work must have been the largest single work among the exhibits.


Bluecoat‘s January/February 1989 zigzag fold with a picture of Sergey Kuryokhin standing before (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov‘s painting CCCP. The picture, taken at the Kulturhuset, Stockholm, 1988, is labelled "Pop Mekhanika". Kozlov was one of Kuryokhin‘s favourite artists.  Video frame from Kozlov‘s video taken at his studio in 1991.


Bluecoat‘s January/February 1989 zigzag fold with a picture of Sergey Kuryokhin standing before (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov‘s painting CCCP.
The picture, taken at the Kulturhuset, Stockholm, 1988, is labelled "Pop Mekhanika". Kozlov was one of Kuryokhin‘s favourite artists.
Video frame from Kozlov‘s video taken at his studio in 1991.




As a matter of fact, the painting CCCP was an exception with regard to the other works displayed at the Tate Gallery Liverpool in that it arrived not directly from Leningrad, with Novikov, Bugaev and the Pop Mekhanika musicians, but together with the other Bluecoat Gallery exhibits from Sweden and Denmark.

Yet the significance of CCCP for the exhibition of banners is obvious: among all exhbits, it was the one closest to a banner, but it also represented Kuryokhin’s Pop Mekhanika: Sergey Kuryokhin selected Kozlov's painting to as his "logo", and a picture entitled “Pop Mekhanika” with Sergey Kuryokhin standing before CCCP was printed in the Bluecoat booklet. A detailed description of the CCCP is in my article "White on Red", 2020 >>.





Uploaded 4 October 2020
Updated 5 October 2020