...Koulakov, however, was not an unpredictable anarchist; as well as being a painter, he was a master of oriental martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan and karate, which open up horizons of freedom after a long training of obedience and strict discipline. In terms of the mind, he cultivated Taoism that lightens the soul of any servile and opportunistic coercion.
The result was that in the 1960s Koulakov set out on a path in search of his stubborn self, settling on an artistic dimension explored at first timidly and then with more self-confidence.
His past consists of drawings, sometimes with a sweep of colour as a hue or a cloud that just tinges the readability of the work. The technique seems to be erratic, almost aimless, and yet it leads to entwined figures, mostly embracing and unconsciously classic, as if Koulakov were portraying with modern feeling the poignant last embrace of Hector and Andromache.
...Yet they are not naive or derivative drawings; in a sense Koulakov has understood the need to start from the beginning to research figuration in order to achieve one's own. What I like most in these drawings, which have survived time and removals, is the ability to engage a movement with another, until the thin thread forms a compact mass, yet clear and readable from start to finish...
...Unlike Pascal who was frightened, Koulakov is charmed by the infinitely small and at the same time can envisage the infinitely large and depict it on a small scale, in sudden flashes, with the nimbleness of filaments and bubbles of saturated colour where each image contains a perfect balance between solid and void, between symmetry and anarchy, between dense colour and graphics, entangled like a scribble.
Some of these depictions of sidereal segments are similar to works by Victor Pasmore, one of the great abstract artists of the 20th century, but now on a level of parallelism and independence. Koulakov achieved these inventions on his own, through Tao, the philosophy of Lao Tzu that frees the mind from the bonds of contingent and repetitive compulsion. Each painting is now an absolute, the first in a personal history and, although similar in some ways, deeper down the paintings are clearly distinguishable, like a galaxy that can have a similar structure but does not overlap with another.
In one of these paintings, the uppermost part is the original vortex, the fertile singularity that generates the cosmos; the lower part represents nature with its succession of flowing waters, plains and mountains. The starting time and the apogee are reversed; the paradox, the freedom of space overcomes temporal coordination. In another case, a dark body is silhouetted in the free space of the canvas. We cannot say if it will proceed on the path of perfection transforming uneven matter into other pyramids, or whether it will proceed in the opposite direction, undoing existing ones. All around, irregular blotches merge with the core; we understand that the complete form is the exception, the singularity that challenges chaos and is often devoured by it.
It took about 14 billion years to create the universe, this majestic body with its tragic and poignant music; metaphorically speaking, as a visual analogue, Koulakov is much faster. The thought, imagination, meditation on the theme can take days and weeks; then the work itself is quick, as it will appear to the eye.
Koulakov reserves for himself the role of demiurge who observes the unfolding of tremendous energies in space, focusing spotlights at high temperature and pressure; conversely, he also depicts the decline of matter toward absolute zero, metaphorically taking charge of harnessing all, turning it into filaments and clearly outlined agglomerations in shades of colour that are juxtaposed, overlapping slightly, coexisting as plasma that binds the corners of the painting to one another.
The synthesis of this series of cosmic paintings is a cube painted on all sides with the astral bodies: muted, red, purple, green, balanced on the edge of streams of energy, creating an ever-changing phantasmagoria that is repeated; equality in the change, the squared universe of the Chinese. The fury subsides and active contemplation defines the figure of this solitary painter, secluded if ever there was one, loving in personal friendships and absolute dedication to his art. Starting from what he was unable to experience in his own country, he has discovered an originality that is free from any trend or school. Just Koulakov and the universe, in single combat, a bit like Jacob wrestling with the angel - and the struggle still endures.

Enzo Bilardello, La spiritualita del Segno, Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna, Roma 2011