Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933)

Ilya Kabakov is a Russian-American installation and graphic artist, one of the most important figures of Moscow Conceptualism. He was born in 1933 in Dnepropetrovsk (USSR). In 1957 he graduated Surikov State Art Institute, Moscow with a specialisation in graphic design and book illustration. He earned his living as a children’s illustrator (including illustration work for the legendary Soviet magazine Murzilka) while creating unofficial graphic work, the so-called albums, sets of sheets with pictures and texts. In the 1970’s he collaborated with a collective of nonconformist artists The Sretensky Boulevard Group which consisted of Hulot Sooster, Ernst Neizvestny, Eric Bulatov, Oleg Vasiliev, Vladimir Yankilevsky, Viktor Pivovarov and Ivan Chuikov. In 1980’s he built his first installations that recreated interiors of Soviet communal apartments. Kabakov’s works The Beetle ($5,8 m) and Le chambre de luxe ($4,1 m) were sold at Phillips de Pury auction, London in 2008 and 2006 respectively, making Kabakov the most expensive contemporary Russian artist. Since 1988, he lives in New York together with his wife and artistic collaborator Emilia Kabakova. 

In 2017-2018 a big retrospective of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s works under the title Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future was held in Tate Modern, London; the State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg; and the State Tretjakov Gallery, Moscow. Kabakov’s works are in collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the State Tretjakov Gallery, Moscow; the State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg; and the State Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg).

Works by Ilya Kabakov :

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