My interest in the intersection between actual, physical landscape and mental landscapes, coupled with recent world events, led me to reflect on the ruins of war and the human impact wars leave behind on landscape.
In my recent work, modernist, constructivist methods of rearranging pictorial space are used to reflect on the scars that wars have left behind, mentally and physically, but also the way that landscape and nature heal these scars and how the events and people who created them become forgotten. I have titled this body of work “Lost Edge.” I use the word “edge” because I draw a comparison between the notion of the avant-garde in war and the art world. In the early 20th Century, the avant-garde was at the height of its importance in both realms. Now, however, I maintain that just as the concept of the military avant-garde has been “lost,” because of changes in methods of warfare, the avant-garde in the contemporary art world, has also lost its edge.
The source material for this body of work is images of ruins of the once mighty fortifications of the Mannerhiem Line, built to protect Finland from the advances of the Soviet military avant-garde. Finland’s attempt was valiant and not in vain; however this war and the lives that were lost in 1939 are largely forgotten. The fortification lie in ruins, and nature is slowly reclaiming them. Similarly, the “cutting edge” of the contemporary art world seems to have become blunted. Viewers of the avant-garde work of many visionary artists of the early 20th Century were shocked, challenged and inspired by The Malevich’s Black Square and The Urinal of Marcel Duchamp. Because of changes in society, like changes in warfare, it has become difficult for today’s contemporary artist to generate the same level of response without resorting to vulgarity.
Artist Bio / CV
Dimitri Kozyrev was born in 1967 in Leningrad, USSR. He moved to United States in 1991. Kozyrev received his MFA from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2000 and his BFA from Ohio University in 1997. Kozyrev has had multiple solo shows at Cirrus Gallery in Los Angeles and at Mark Moore Gallery in Santa Monica, California . He has also been in a number of group shows in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Amsterdam, London, Dubai. His upcoming next solo show will be at Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles and in 2009 his drawing project BLACK SQUARE will be a part of VIII International Krasnoyarsk Biennale. Reviews of his work have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Artweek, and Artforum. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at University of Arizona.