An Initiative for Art and Research


Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are artists who have been collaborating since 1989.

Their most well-known works, so-called total installations, are massive assemblages that evoke Soviet communal spaces which they subject to metaphysical and structuralist dissection. An active participant in the underground Moscow Conceptualism scene in the 1970s and 1980s, Ilya Kabakov began his career as a Soviet book illustrator. His paintings and graphic albums combine depictions of quotidian domestic objects and fictional characters with impersonal or bureaucratic texts, thus mimicking the universe of the Soviet communal utopia. In the 1980s and 1990s, Kabakov developed such fictional stories into large archiving projects that aimed at encompassing whole oeuvres of an imaginary individual or artist. The Kabakovs’ recent exhibitions include: The Happiest Man, University of Westminster, London, 2013; A Return to Painting: Paintings by Ilya Kabakov, 1961–2011, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, 2012; The Ship of Tolerance, Havana Biennale, Havana, 2010; The Blue Carpet, MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, 2010; Vertical Opera, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2010; and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Retrospective, Pushkin Museum, Moscow, 2009. The Kabakovs live and work on Long Island, New York.