The Leningrad Album or machine of desires in Evgenij Kozlov’s comics

In the late sixties at the age of twelve and eighteen Russian artist Evgenij Kozlov made the Leningrad Album, a collection of over 250 ink drawings based on the erotic scenes from the imagination of young artist. It is all about the desire, harmony, and spirituality on the basis of erotic elements. He is talking about sexual, erotic desire, but also about desires in general.

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The Leningrad album is perfectly drawn, but it of course is the machine of desires. Watching it you can imagine the fantasies of 14-years old gay. Every drawing is telling a short story of sexual fantasy of young Kozlov with his female classmates, teachers or neighbors. But the idea is not only in the wish of sex but also in the wish to know the Universe, to know the life. Drawings are also full of domestic details: nude girls are wearing only the skates, or the boy’s pioneer tie, or touching girl’s dresses, or details of soviet home life. The Album is about life, not only about sexual life but also about life at all.

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The dedication reads: Our dearest book. Dedicated to all youth and men in the world throughout the XXI, XXVI, XXXIX and LXIV centuries. In his drawings Kozlov was inspired not only by his feverish imagination but also by the tightness of his family’s communal apartment, called Kommunalka. The drawings are really explicit and tenderly naïve as they expose the intimate fantasies of the young artist through his masculine alter ego. They are universal, common to all mankind but of course Russian viewers have an advantage because they can also read texts written in these drawings. So, the touching visual images are accompanied by no less touching texts. More often it is dialogs between the boy and his objects of desire. In general The Leningrad Album looks like the comic full of both fact and fiction, talking about desires and recording their first manifestation.

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