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It’s A Question Of Balance ® radio show balances the intellectual with the creative, exploring whether we have more in common than divides us through thought-provoking conversations – out and about with people on the street on different topics, and in the studio with inspiring guests from the arts. Balance is not a compromise. Balance is truth distilled from many places creating cohesive understanding. Hosted by Ruth Copland.

Arts Interview: Emilia Kabakov of World Renowned Art Duo Ilya and Emilia Kabakov – Part One

Emila Kabakov, Ilya kabakov

Portrait by Yuri Rost

Regularly named among the top 10 living artists in the world and the ‘two most consequential artists to emerge from Russia since the 1920s’ (Robert Storr), Ilya and Emilia Kabakov have a unique pioneering place in the international story of conceptual art. They have worked together in the USA, where they live, since the late 1980s and are known for their complex large-scale projects and immersive ‘total’ installations. To date, together they have created nearly 200 of these total installations, which invite the viewer to become an active part of the work, considering the meaning of utopia, the place of the artist, power, hope, fear, escapism, fantasy, and much more.

This is the first in a two-part series of interviews with Emilia Kabakov. This week Ruth Copland and Emilia Kabakov talk about when Emilia and Ilya first became aware of the power of art to affect us on a deep level, how they work together, their early life in Russia, why they started creating ‘total installations’ and also about their wonderful art installation project with children around the world, ‘The Ship of Tolerance’.

LISTEN HERE: Press play to stream, or download podcast by clicking icon at end of audio bar.

‘The Ship of Tolerance’ is a conceptual piece which hundreds of local schoolchildren from different ethnic and social backgrounds in different cities round the world have participated in, the hope being that through the creative process they can learn about tolerance. For more information go to The Ship of Tolerance.

Emilia Kabakov, the ship of tolerance

The Ship of Tolerance

Both Ilya and Emilia received formal education in the arts in the Soviet Union. Ilya’s background is in graphic design and painting and his early work consisted of small paintings, drawings and installations. Shunning becoming an official Soviet fine artist, due to the limiting artistic scope mandated at that time, he worked as a children’s book illustrator, at the same time creating art works in private shown to a small community of fellow artists. A gifted pianist, Emilia studied music, spanish language and literature, and after settling in New York worked as a curator and art adviser. Having known each other growing up, Emilia and Ilya met again when Ilya moved to the USA and they have been creating conceptual art works together since 1989 and have been married since 1992.

Emilia Kabakov, how to meet an angelm the ship of tolerance, monumenta

L to R: Model for ‘How To Meet An Angel’; Kabakovs & The Ship of Tolerance; Monumenta.

For the artists’ website visit Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

“It’s A Question of Balance ® so rare among radio talk shows, lets its subjects breathe. With her discursive style and pleasingly eccentric range of curiosity, host Ruth Copland each week treats her listeners to two hours of Whole Brain Radio.”
Hampton Sides – Internationally bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and historian

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