Tagged: kabakov

Ilya Kabakov (1933-2023)

One of the most noted 20th-century artists born in the USSR, Ilya Kabakov, died on May 27, 2023. It is no easy task to pay short tribute to a man of his ingenuity, diligence, discipline, and influence. Rather than publishing a standard obituary, ARTMargins Online editors asked some of the artist’s friends and collaborators, as well as critics and curators, to reflect, below, on his life and work from a personal perspective. The resulting collage of responses formally functions not unlike Kabakov’s own Answers of an Experimental Group (1971). This work compelled Boris Groys, one of Kabakov’s earliest commentators, to … Read more

Ilya Kabakov: The Soviet Toilet and the Palace of Utopias

This text was first published on the ARTMargins Online website on December 31, 1999. It is being republished in honor of its author Svetlana Boym (1959–2015), and Ilya Kabakov (1933–2023).

At the end of the millennium, it has become fashionable to speak about the “end of history” and the “end of art,” to say nothing about the end of the world. Boris Groys has commented that Soviet civilization was the first modern civilization whose death we have witnessed, and there are more to come.(Boris Groys, “Un homme qui veut duper le temps” in Installations 1983-1995 (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, Read more

The Agency of Lack: Mikhail Tolmachev on His Installation at the Moscow Gulag Museum

Mikhail Tolmachev was born in Moscow and lives in Leipzig. His work touches on questions of institutional memory and display, documentary history, and media archeology. Recent shows have included Sources Go Dark (Futura Center for Contemporary Art, Prague 2015); Beyond Visual Range (Armed Forces Museum, Moscow 2014); IK-00 The Spaces of Confinement, Casa dei Tre Oci, Venice, 2014; SLON (V-A-C Foundation, Palazzo Zattere, Venice, 2017).

Sven Spieker: In 2016 you presented an exhibition at the State Museum of Gulag History in Moscow that deals with materials from the museum’s archive, related to the Stalinist labor camp on the island of … Read more

Art in Europe 1945-1968: Facing the Future

Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, October 22, 2016—January 29, 2017

On January 29, 2017, the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe celebrated the successful conclusion of Art in Europe 1945-1968: Facing the Future, a major exhibition dedicated to European art after the Second World War. Showcasing some 500 artworks by more than 200 artists, the exhibition was the collaborative effort of the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels (BOZAR), the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM), and the Moscow State Museum Exhibition Center (ROSIZO), and Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. After stints in Brussels and Karlsruhe, the … Read more

Moscow Conceptualism in the 1980s: Interview with Sabine Hänsgen (Zurich)

Currently based in Zurich, Sabine Hänsgen is a researcher, curator, historian, and theoretician of Russian art. Since the 1980s she has been a member of the Moscow art group Collective Actions. In 1998, together with Georg Witte, she curated the exhibition Präprintium. Moscow Samizdat Books, which was devoted to underground publications in the former Soviet Union.(Sascha Wonders, Günter Hirt, Präprintium. Moskauer Bücher aus dem Samizdat. Mit Multimedia CD (Bremen: Edition Temmen,1998); Forschungsstelle Osteuropa (ed.), Samizdat. Alternative Kultur in Zentral- und Osteuropa: Die 60er bis 80er Jahre (Bremen: Edition Temmen, 2000); Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler (Hg.): Subversive Praktiken. Kunst Read more

Andrey Kuzkin, Conceptualist Son (Series “New Critical Approaches”) (Article)

It does not take more than a fleeting glance at much of contemporary art practice to realize that Conceptual art is still with us. The similarities go beyond stylistic continuity. Conceptual art’s concern with fundamental questions of artistic meaning and interpretation has endowed art with an awareness of its own conditions and its relationship with a wide range of social life. Indeed, most art today is indebted to the efforts of Conceptual artists in the 1960s for breaking the spell of Greenbergian modernism and opening up a wider range of issues than had previously been accepted.

Russia experienced its own … Read more

A Conversation with Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

Once the center of the Moscow circle of conceptualists, Ilya Kabakov has become one of the most highly visible artists working today. He was named by ArtNews as one of the “ten greatest living artists” in 2000. Throughout his forty-year plus career, Kabakov has produced a wide range of paintings, drawings, installations, and theoretical texts — not to mention extensive memoirs that track his life from his childhood to the early 1980s. In recent years, he has created installations that evoked the visual culture of the Soviet Union, though this theme has never been the exclusive focus of his work. Read more

Kabakov Online: Russian Art

Ever wondered what the web yields when you type your name into Google? Some of us may be pleasantly surprised by the number of pages found, only to be dismayed by seeing the actual content.

This reviewer, although not exactly passive in terms of online activity, has been outranked by several eponymous persons: among these goldsmith, a Conservative city counselor, and an artist biker. (By the way: If you want to find out whether you rank better than your friend / colleague / worst enemy, www.googlefights.com is the site for you.)

However, if you type the … Read more

Ilya Kabakov and the Concentrated Spectacle of Soviet Power

Painting, that is, the idea of painting, dominated Ilya Kabakov’s formative years as an artist in the Soviet Union. These were the late 1950s and early 1960s, the years of de-Stalinization and Nikita Khrushchev’s faltering reform of the Soviet state.

Remembering those years, Kabakov recalls, “One must say that the fetishization of the word ‘painting’ at the time was very great. It was endlessly discussed, what is genuine painting? What is not genuine? What is its relationship to nature, to the truth of life?”(Ilya Kabakov, 60-e — 70-e…zapiski o neofitsial’noi zhizni v Moskve (Vienna: Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, Sonderband 47, Read more

Ilya Kabakov: “50 Installations”

Ilya Kabakov: 50 Installations. Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland: www.kunstmuseumbern.ch

“For Kabakov, art remains an inevitable, existential need and a therapy for survival. The artist loves the museum not merely as an institution, but as a personal refuge,” Svetlana Boym argues in her recent essay for this publication, The Soviet Toilet and the Palace of Utopias. In his retrospective exhibition, 50 Installations, Ilya Kabakov has turned his refuge into his playground. The tripartite exhibition itself displays many of the features of Kabakov’s “total installations.” This is most evident in “The Children’s Hospital,” a hospital ward with two beds, on the … Read more

“A Universal System for Depicting Everything”: A Dialogue Between Ilya Kabakov and Boris Groys

I. K.: Without any foreword my album “A Universal System for Depicting Everything” plunges into an exploration of some sort of fantastic system, namely, a system for a view from the fourth dimension. It is an elaboration, in several sketches, of how our reality, the different qualities of our reality, can be seen from this dimension. For the viewer, of course, what is being discussed is not at all comprehensible, nor is it clear who is the one proposing such a system, or who has seen it. The very flow of speech-emotional, not entirely logical, gasping-indicates that a rather strange … Read more

Between Hope and Fear: Ilya Kabakov: The Sixties – the Seventies… Notes on Inofficial Life in Moscow

II’ya Kabakov: 60-e – 70-e… Zapiski o neoficial’noy zhizni v Moskve. Ed. Wolfgang Weitlaner. Vienna 1999 (Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, Sonderband 47)

Ilya Kabakov: The Sixties – the Seventies… Notes on inofficial life in Moscow. Vienna 1999

In the early eighties, with the endless period of stagnation under Brezhnev drawing to an end, conceptual artist Ilya Kabakov wants to come clean with his past. On the eve of Gorbachev’s Perestroika (that would eventually make possible his own emergence onto the international art scene), Kabakov takes stock of the inofficial Russian art scene, as well as his own role in … Read more

Ilya Kabakov: Drawings

Sprengel-Museum, Kurt-Schwitters-Platz, Hannover, Germany. 14 March – 16 May 1999. Catalogue DM 25,–.

This is not an ordinary Kabakov exhibition. Since his emigration from Russia in 1988, Ilya Kabakov has been known mainly for his “total” installations, in which he creates little parallel universes that possess their own artistic logic, or rather, stage the context in which the objects on display make sense. In this and other contexts, Kabakov has produced a large number of drawings. The Hannover exhibition, however, is dedicated not to drawings that would be part of some particular context, but to the “autonomous” drawings that Kabakov … Read more

Ilya Kabakov and the Corridor of Two Banalities

Ilya Kabakov is one of the pioneers of the conceptual movement in artistic life in Moscow. Since the sixties his artistic activity has provided an alternative to Communist propaganda produced by artists of that period, making a game out of the Soviet-style Socialist Realism which dominated the arts. Kabakov’s first interest was in the artist’s book and painting; but in the mid-eighties, he shifted his concentration and was recognized as the creator of famous installations such as “Ten Characters” and “He Lost His Mind, Undressed, and Ran Away Naked,” depicting the mentality of a person dominated by ideology. At the Read more