a to z great modern artists
Russian-born conceptual artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are among the most celebrated artists of their generation. Known for their pioneering large-scale environments and installations, the artists' work fuses the everyday with the conceptual. Deeply rooted in the visual culture of Soviet society yet speaking equally to universal themes, their work is characterised by a sense of melancholia but also humour. Celebrating five decades of work, this book traces a line from Ilya Kabakov's early paintings, drawings, albums and installations to the collaborative projects made with his wife Emilia following his emigration to the West in 1987, which include immersive installations and architectural models. Exploring the themes of failed utopia and political disillusionment that run through their work, as well as fantasies of escape and transcendence, it also examines the relationship between aesthetics and politics, and the way painting has remained a central feature of their work in ever-diverse forms. A selection of texts from leading art writers and historians contextualise the artists' practice, and descriptive captions illuminate individual works. The artists' own writings are interspersed throughout, providing insight into a career exemplified by innovation and originality. Fully illustrated with over 100 works, ranging from the artists' iconic installations to Ilya Kabakov's colourful and delicate paintings, this beautiful book will introduce newcomers to these important artists, while also serving as a key reference for those already familiar with their work. The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.