The weird world of Ilya Kabakov
This Landscape with pines by Ilya Kabakov formed part of the installation He Lost His Mind, Undressed, and Ran Away Naked exhibited at the Ronald Feldman gallery in New York in 1990.
Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933), Landscape with pines, 1990, mixed media on panel, oils, clothing and isorel, 210 x 150 cm.
Works by this artist born in Dnepropetrovsk (present-day Dnipro) rarely come under the hammer in France. The first part of the installation in New York showed a narrow, dimly-lit corridor with a cracked ceiling held up by wooden planks, where the floor had visibly not been swept for a long time… As with all apartments in Russia's multi-dwelling buildings, the numerous doors opened and shut, hampering movement and encouraging visitors to wait. Photographs, cut-up postcards and parts of texts were hung around: nostalgic evidence of the artist's life. There was a change of scene with the two other installations: the rooms were spacious and colourful, embellished with cheerful pictures, paintings and clothing, and the floor was covered with detritus. "When I look back at my past life, one of the main images everything comes down to is the corridor. A multitude of corridors has haunted my entire life," says the artist, who now lives in the US with his wife, Emilia Kabakov. Admitted to the Surikov Institute in Moscow to study graphic art, he started out in the 1950s as a children's book illustrator. Then came the installations. Interiors with meticulously realistic details, these are metaphors of the confined spaces where he lived with his compatriots, in which visitors can immerse themselves.