Ilya and Emilia Kabakov
The Fly, 2010
18kt yellow gold ring with diamonds and emeralds
Edition of 15
Signed and numbered
“The Fly is for us a symbol of freedom. It can go anywhere, be everywhere and we don’t even notice its presence, because she is so insignificant. Nobody can control the fly, even in totalitarian state, where everybody’s life and movements can be limited and controlled, the fly is free.” – Ilya Kabakov
The Fly wearable art project was first designed by Ilya Kabakov in 1992 and originally conceived as a present for his wife Emilia. However, it remained unrealised until 2010, when Elisabetta Cipriani encouraged the artist to finally bring it to life.
The fly, one of Kabakov’s best known and recurring motifs, encapsulates a dual meaning. On the one hand, it is a metaphor for the smallness and insignificance of the individual against the omnipotence and repression of the Soviet Government. On the other hand, it represents the freedom of the soul, escaped from the earthly bonds of existence. The fly travels everywhere unnoticed, from the most ordinary and humble place to the most elevated and sacred one without distinguishing between them. This concept draws a clear parallelism to the figures of the exiled, those who wander without a fixed destination; the fly is a messenger, a symbol of a free being who is everywhere, sees everything and belongs nowhere.
The wearable art piece is forged in an Art Nouveau style featuring different green tones and the use of the enamel technique that hints to the Pre-Revolutionary Russian aesthetics and therefore conveys a strong reference to the origin of the artists.