The Underground Russian Artists Who Evaded the KGB
Translation of russian language (also in small text at bottom): "Artist! Why Didn't you Draw My Rear End? Did You Not Have Enough Time? That's Right, I Did Not."
“The pictures, like most things by the Kabakovs, suggest a state of being midway in a leap from a Point A to a Point B which must exist somewhere, because to believe otherwise would be unbearable.”
— Peter Schjeldahl, New Yorker
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are russian-born, American-based artists who have collaborated for 30 years to forge a practice which fuses elements of the everyday with those of the conceptual. Their work moves seamlessly between drawing, painting, and creating immersive installations, and draws from conceptual, existensial and whimsical perspectives in equal measures. The Dog appears as an unfinished drawing whose caption gives voice to the aritists’ creation but questions their intentions.
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Utopian Projects is currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. through March 2018. Their first major UK museum exhibition, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future is currently on view at Tate Modern through January 2018.
—Courtesy of ICI
Husband and wife Ilya and Emilia Kabokov have developed an international reputation for creating deeply evocative works that reflect on the socioeconomics of the late Soviet Union. Their projects entail multiple stages of planning, often accompanied by a host of preparatory diagrams and sketches, as with The Red Wagon (1991), a large-scale experiential installation meant to reflect the closed-off, circular, and frustrating nature of the Russian government. “[The viewer] is to fail in the effort to reach the heaven, then live through period of frustrating and fruitless anticipation—only to find himself standing in heaps of rubbish and junk at the end of the road,” they have said about the work. The pair’s practice together has continually explored how people relate to oppression, isolation, and other forms of adversity, and has been compared to that of constructivist artists El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko, who each used their art to reflect upon Soviet politics and culture.
Russian, 1933 and 1945, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, based in Long Island, New York