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Arts Interview: Emilia Kabakov of World Renowned Art Duo Ilya and Emilia Kabakov – Part Two
Listen to Part One here.
This is the second in a two-part series of interviews with Emilia Kabakov. In Part Two Ruth Copland and Emilia Kabakov talk about what Utopia embodies for the Kabakovs, how their early life in the Soviet Union factors into their work, what painting offers different from installations, whether art should be life-affirming, if there is a spiritual aspect to their work, their recurring use of the metaphor of flight, how much the context of an art work matters, and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s latest exhibition Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future, which explores their pioneering place in the international story of conceptual art. The exhibition is currently at the State Hermitage, St Petersburg, having previously been at Tate Modern, London.
LISTEN HERE: Press play to stream, or download podcast by clicking icon at end of audio bar.
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.
For more information on the Kabakovs amazing art installation project with children around the world go to The Ship of Tolerance.
Both Ilya and Emilia Kabakov 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.
For the artists’ website visit www.ilya-and-emilia-kabakov.com
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