Madder than the World is a series by Russian artist (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, who came to prominence as a founding member of the avant-garde ‘New Artists’ movement that sprang out of the St Petersburg arts scene in the early 1980s. Working across the visual arts, music, film, theatre and fashion, the New Artists’ anarchic politics and nonconformist practice stood outside either the state-sanctioned mainstream or that of organised, anti-Soviet dissidence.
The scene included the influential artist and theorist Timur Novikov and the radical musician, artist and Sergey Kuryokhin (also mentioned in Kirill Medvedev’s poem ‘Europe’, published in this month’s online issue, and the subject of a forthcoming article in the magazine by Thomas Dylan Eaton). Kozlov’s photographs of the group served as documents of a radical scene as well as the basis of many of his paintings during the period.
Kozlov adopted the pseudonym ‘E-E’, pronounced in Russian ‘Yeh-Yeh’, in the 1980s. This is a reference to the rhythm of pop-music, the lightness and freshness of ‘yeah-yeah’, and, most importantly, to the innate sense of affirmation and self-confidence that the phrase embodies. The letter ‘E’ is in itself an interesting graphic element that appears in many of the artist’s works. From 2005, Kozlov made ‘E-E’ his only signature, and he has subsequently added it to his birth name.
In recent years Kozlov has participated in exhibitions including Ostalgia at the New Museum, New York (2011); Il Palazzo Enciclopedico, at la Biennale di Venezia (2013); and ASSA. The Last Generation of the Leningrad Avant-garde at The Russian Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Saint-Petersburg (2013).
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov’s first London solo exhibition runs at Hannah Barry Gallery to 4 June.