Ilya and Emilia Kabakov


Ilya & Emilia Kabakov (USSR, b 1933) are Russian-born, American-based artists that collaborate on environments which fuse elements of the everyday with those of the conceptual. While their work is deeply rooted in the Soviet social and cultural context in which the Kabakovs come to age, their work still attains a universal significance.

Today they are recognised as the most important Russian artists after the post war. After leaving the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, Ilya Kabakov’s satirical drawings developed into his signature “total installations” – all encompassing environments accompanied by tragicomic narrative texts. Made in collaboration with his wife Emilia Kabakov, these nostalgic installations often incorporate forgotten elements of Soviet life, such as social realist propaganda, worn-out kitchen items, and communal living arrangements.

The Kabakovs’ work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and in the Whitney Biennial. In 1993 the duo represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennale. In 2017 they will be doing a retrospective at Tate Modern, London

Public collections

2010 Rurhr – Atoll. Project for the Preservation of Natural Resources, Essen, Germany
Memorial to Life, permanent installation, public commission, Marl, Germany
2007 The Ship of Tolerance, Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy
2004 Shining Circus and its Spectators, Neubau Giesing Munich, Germany
2003 Drinking Fountain, Train Station, Zug, Swizerland
St Francois d’Assisse Stage Installation for Olivier Messiaen with Emilia Kabakov. Jahrhunderhalle, Bochum, Germany
Pianist and Musa (bronze), Middleberg, Holland
Pianist and Musa, Alcobendas, Spain
2001 The Egg, Kimpo Sculpture Project, Kimpo, Korea
2000 The Palace of Projects, Essen Germany
The Fountain (in bronze), Middleberg, Holland
The Rice Fields, Nigata, Tsumari-Japan
The Golden Apples, Singen, Germany
The Old Bottle, Como, Italy
1999 The Last Step with Emilia Kabakov. Bremenjaven, Germany, monument for the emigrants from Europe to America commissioned by the Federal Republic of Germany
The Weakening Voice, Colle Val d’Elsa, Italy
And I was like you…, Kunstverein, Esslingen, Germany
The Borders and Otherness, Pont de l’Europa, Strasssborg, France
They are Looking Down, Nagoya, Japan
1998 The Last Step, Germany
The Weakening Voice, Italy
And I was like You, Esslingen, Germany
Monument to Lost Glove, Basel, Switzerland
My Grandfather’s Shed, MMMK, Kosler, Germany
The Old Column, Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy
We Are Free! San Gimignano, Italy
The Old Bridge, Hannover Munden, Germay
1997 The Fallen Chandelier, Hocchaus zur Palme, Zurich, Swizerland
Looking Up Reading the Words, Ilya Kabakov, Munster, Germany
1996 The Wings, Staatliche Neubauleitung Deutsche Biblioteck, Frankfurt, commissioned by the Federal Republic of Germany
1995 Music on Water with V. Tarasov, Salzau, Kiel, celebration of 50 years of the United Nations calendar for 1995
Fallen Sky, Palais de Nations, Geneva
1994 The Flies, A Musical Phantasmagoria (costume and stage design by Ilya Kabakov), New York
Ich bin ein Prinz (Director Edgar M. Bohlke), Set Design by Ilya Kabakov
1993 The lies, Brooklyn Academy of Music The Next Wave Festival of Music Phantasmagoria, composer V. Tarasov, I. Costumes and stage design, libretto, Oct 26-28, 1994, New York, USA
Musik and Art School, stage design (nose by Gogol) Frankfurt, Germany
1992 Life with an Idiot opera music by Alfred Schnicke, costumes and sets by Ilya Kabakov conducted by Mstislav Rostropovitch world premere April 13, 1992. Netherlands Opera, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Blue Dish installation at expo 1992, Sevilla, Spain
1991 Memorial Monument to the Division of Normandie-Niemen, commissioned by the Ville d’Orly and Ministry of Culture, June 29, 1991, Orly, France
Whose are those Wings? Ilya Kabakov, Orly, France
Ripped off Landscape, Ilya Kabakov, Dresder Bank, Frankfurt