Artists: Ilya and Emilia Kabakov
Venue: Power Station of Art, Shanghai
Exhibition Title: The Dream City
Date: August 8 – December 6, 2015
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Power Station of Art, Shanghai
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Dream City is the Russian-born couple’s largest installation exhibition so far. It is their long-term art project, as well as a summary to their ideas and concepts of their art career.
For their Shanghai debut, the Power Station of Art will present their projects including Manas, Fallen Angel, Dark Chapel, Gates, 20 Ways to Get an Apple Listening the Music of Mozart, and Empty Museum. The artists combined forms of expressions including architecture, lighting, sound, painting and urban planning, inviting the audience into a labyrinth of fantasy to feel about the empowering artworks.
For the exhibition, Emilia Kabakov said: “Many years ago, someone asked me if art could influence politics. We said no, as we thought art wasn’t that powerful at the time. Our view hasn’t changed, but these years, we’re creating with imaginations and Utopian ideas. We believe art has an important role in culture, and can influence mindsets, generate dreams, change behaviors and lead to reflections. That means art can change the way we live. But given the everyday chores, we have forgotten the reason we’re born to be humans: we have the ability to communicate, to think and to enjoy. Nowadays, we see the world through televisions and cameras, and we talk to each other through computers. The world we’re seeing is distorted by television and computers. So through the exhibition, we want to wake up the audience’s memory about China’s ancient traditions, which are: to think, to communicate, and to see, to think, to dream with your heart, your eyes and your energy, to feel about the world’s real beauty.”
Exhibition curator Jean-Hubert Martin said: “Walking in The Dream City’s magnificent yet mysterious settings, you will be inspired by the epic stories about humanity. The Utopian city is presenting human desires and their pursuits of excellence and philosophy. Though without any words, the project still reveals the dark metaphors about life and mystery.”
The Kabakovs are also showcasing the grand vision in their ambitions. For years, they have been expressing different human dreams through humorous yet poetic installations of mind-blowing sizes. Among such projects, we are able to how humans with excellent skills persist in their different advances, never giving up their dreams even ending in futility.
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are Russian-born, American-based artists that collaborate on environments which fuse elements of the everyday with those of the conceptual. While their work is deeply rooted in the Soviet social and cultural context in which the Kabakovs came of age, their work still attains a universal significance.
Ilya Kabakov was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Soviet Union, in 1933. He studied at the VA Surikov Art Academy in Moscow, and began his career as a children’s book illustrator during the 1950’s. He was part of a group of Conceptual artists in Moscow who worked outside the official Soviet art system. In 1985 he received his first solo show exhibition at Dina Vierny Gallery, Paris, and he moved to the West two years later. Today Kabakov is recognized as the most important Russian artist to have emerged in the late 20th century.
Emilia Kabakov was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Soviet Union, in 1945. She attended the Music College in Irkutsk in addition to studying Spanish language and literature at the Moscow University. She immigrated to Israel in 1973, and moved to New York in 1975, where she worked as a curator and art dealer. Emilia has worked side by side with Ilya since 1989.
Their work has been shown in such venues as the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Documenta IX, at the Whitney Biennial in 1997 and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg among others. In 1993 they represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennale with their installation The Red Pavilion. The Kabakovs have also completed many important public commissions throughout Europe and have received a number of honors and awards, including the Oscar Kokoschka Preis, Vienna, in 2002 and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, in 1995.
The Kabakovs live and work in Long Island.