The exhibition El Lissitzky – Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Utopia and Reality is a dialogue between two Russian artists over several generations and almost a century. Ilya Kabakov engages in a dialogue with the visionary of the Russian avant-garde, El Lissitzky, who with his designs was key in shaping the lexicon of form of a period of upheaval, placing art directly in the service of social reform. Both artists stand for two generations that followed each other, one for the implementation of communist
visions – the other for its deconstruction.
On show in the Kunsthaus Graz is a version of the 2013 exhibition displayed in the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (NL), adapted for Graz by Ilya and Emila Kabakov. Mostly recently it has been hosted in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (28.06.–25.08.2013) and in the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow (17.9.-17.11.2013). In more than 40 original works by El Lissitzky from 1919-1930, as well as in impressive reconstructions of his models as spatial total works of art, generally
comprehensible geometric forms become tangible as constructivist and at the same time political visions. In contrast, the installation and painted works of Ilya Kabakov, who has collaborated with his wife Emilia since his move to the USA, draw a picture of failed utopia reality, paired with conceptual metaphysics.
The utopian architecture of the Kunsthaus inspired the artists to a stroll through two opposing worldviews, arranged in semi-circles. Unlike in Eindhoven, where the works were organised in themes in a linear space and placed with juxtaposing work themes, universes are created in the Space01 parallel to one another, as well as a deconstructing clash of fictions, realities and time periods. The artists’ works are sub-divided into six themes, ranging from the awakening of space through to unrealised utopia, and ultimately converge in one communal, large, central room. (For complete information, please visit the Kunsthaus Graz official web site)
In cooperation with the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL)