The E-E WEIGHT. SLEEP. cycle – pronounced Ye Ye Weight. Sleep., the Russian original being Е-Е ВЕС. СОН. (ye ye vyes. son.) – consists of two parts, each giving expression to a dual perception, with each part differing in terms of material, implementation and concept. Within the graphical images belonging to the first part of his cycle, started in 2009, (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov has been noting down the bifold realities of his human experience, on a daily basis. This is what he recorded on a little piece of paper:
‘Наличие цифр в рисунках “сон” и “вес” является скрупулезным фиксированием физического состояния моего тела’: ‘The numbers in the sleep and weight drawings constitute a meticulous record of the physical state of my body.’
Kozlov has thereby preserved two substantial measured variables relating to his human existence. With respect to daytime consciousness, what is in view is the actual state of being in the material – heaviness – measured in terms of WEIGHT, this being between 74.0 and 78.8 kg. In relation to the state of sleeping consciousness, what is in view is the time of day when the subject goes to sleep, i.e. the moment when his state of being beyond the material begins (SLEEP): between 11 pm and
9 am. This leads to him experiencing something of his fluctuating self that would have escaped him were it not for these records; to a degree, he is objectivizing himself.
These images, which are works on paper, are annotated with illustrations, and in part they form a collage; they are mainly on A4, and currently they span approximately a hundred graphic works.
The second part of the cycle has been in progress since 2015, and up till the present time it consists of thirty-two individual paintings and two triptychs. To be more specific, these are canvas paintings painted on both sides that are predominantly in 70 x 50 cm format. The duality within these double-sided paintings is to be found not in the change from waking consciousness to sleeping consciousness, but rather in the interplay between front/back, outer/inner, main perspective and counter-perspective.
The figurative-abstract motifs have been painted on the reverse of the canvas, and having originated here they are then mirrored on the front. The metaphors of counter-space and space are pertinent at this point: the counter-space imperceptible to the eye – the reverse – is projected into visible space, the front. Here the motifs are further fashioned, thereby generating new cubic content. On the reverse the motifs are more emblematic, more rudimentary, whereas on the front they are more complex, more lyrical. Hypothetically speaking, it is possible for both counter-space and space to be perceived simultaneously, the painting undergoing a longitudinal rotation in the mind of the observer.
Both parts of the cycle have been executed in their own particular style. Common to both are Kozlov’s distinctively elegant and assured lines, his feel for colour and contrasts, and his delicate humour. The evident effervescence – not only of the figures, but also of the abstract elements such as the lines, circles and numbers – takes the cycle beyond a conceptual approach.
E-E WEIGHT. SLEEP. begins with technical notes relating to human existence, and subtle harmonies emerge as it progresses; prerequisite to this is an ability to develop and master an exacting technique. Both parts of the cycle are still in progress, and their completion has not yet been envisaged.
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov
who was born in 1955 in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia, was an active member of the Leningrad avant-garde group, Новые художники (the New Artists) in the 1980s. The first of his international art exhibitions was in 1988. The artist has been living in Berlin since the 1990s, where, between 1994 and 2008, together with Hannelore Fobo, he held exhibitions, concerts and other events – at Russkoee Polee / The Russian Field, which was his Berlin-based studio.
Kozlov’s extensive work encompasses a number of large cycles such as Miniatures in Paradise, dated 1995. Following their completion, the sixteen 5 m x 2 m-format paintings were flown from flagpoles in front of the Berlin Victory Column. Kozlov’s cycles frequently span a long period of time (Century XX, Part 1: 1982 – 2008, and Part 2: 2008 – 2016). Kozlov formulated his observations relating to present-day art into his theory of CHAOSE Art (pron. ‘House Art’), with the E being a reference to the signature he has been using since 2005: E-E, pronounced ‘ye ye’.
For the purposes of its ‘Gallery of Obsessions’, the Charley 05 album (edited by Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, 2007) named Kozlov in its list of one hundred ‘great solitary masters’.
In recent years (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov has participated in exhibitions at the New Museum, New York (Ostalgia, 2011), the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (The New are Here!, 2012), La Biennale di Venezia (The Encyclopedic Palace, 2013) and the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (Zero Object, 2014) – and this list is to be augmented by an upcoming exhibition at Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz (Notes from the Underground, 2016).
The curator Hannelore Fobo studied linguistics, politics and Latin American studies at the Free University of Berlin, followed by East European studies at postgraduate level. Fobo started organising art exhibitions in the late 1980s, and she has been curating Evgenij Kozlov’s works since meeting him in 1990. In 2003, she published The Leningrad Album, a collection of Kozlov’s earlier erotic drawings. She is a member of the AICA (the International Association of Art Critics).
In her capacity as an author, Fobo focuses on aesthetics. Her essays include Bild und Abbild (Image and Depiction), Schiller. Idee, Ideal und Schein (Schiller: the Idea, the Ideal and the Appearance). Planned forthcoming works also have Kozlov’s cycles as their theme, starting with E-E Fairy Tale and Century XX.
EGBERT BAQUÉ CONTEMPORARY, Berlin, is to publish (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: E-E WEIGHT. SLEEP., a 192-page (German/English) book authored by Hannelore Fobo, written to accompany the exhibition that is running in parallel with the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Opening reception: Saturday 4th June 2016, 7 – 9 pm.