Ilya Kabakov - drawing
This project belongs in the area of personal artistic mythologies naturally existing in the modern-day cultural context. It is an organic part of the general strategy of de-centralization in art that simultaneously proclaims the values that are deeply rooted in universal meanings.
The theme of "angels" runs through the entire culture of American postmodernism, beginning with the songs of Bob Dylan and up to the video installations of Bill Viola. However, in Ilya Kabakovīs projects this theme stands out with particular vitality. Kabakovīs thinking is similar to a pilgrim or a traveler in time and space. His matchless irony connects with deep personal experiences and feelings. His world re-creates the inner theater of the psyche where angels enact a mystery play of the artistīs own myth. Art is thus tied to eternal themes and reflections.
Manīs direct communion with his guardian angel, their dramatic dialogue and inter-dependence, recurs endlessly throughout Kabakovīs project, offering the viewer endless riddles and interpretations. Resorting to techniques from traditional culture -- pen drawing, ritual objects, architectural modeling -- Ilya Kabakov also includes in his "visual optics" the vast store of manīs cultural memory with its deeply ingrained guidelines and landmarks. The artist skillfully uses self-quotation and quotes from fundamental history, beginning with Jacobīs mystical stairs ascended by angels, and finishing with the images from the classical avant-garde, from Vladimir Tatlinīs utopian flights and Konstantin Melnikovīs metaphysics of "staircase architecture" to the minimalism of Donald Judd.
In Kabakovīs universe angels always appear from nowhere and unexpectedly -- messengers from other dimensions. They float and soar over our world as reminders of another existence from an angelīs perspective. Their extended wings bear testimony to manīs lost or forgotten possibilities, which reside in the most ordinary texture of our being. Angels represent a perfect model of the human being who has overcome his corporeal confines to embrace the ecology of the heavenly space.
The artist himself is invisibly but unmistakably present in this magical world. He identifies with the viewer, simultaneously reminding him about the ideal and returning him to the world of fulfilled wishes and hopes. Kabakovīs own texts are included in the framework of his artistic gestures appearing as revelatory outlines and responses to the night around him -- like casual instructions that shape the sensually tangible multi-layered post modernity of today. Even after the artifact has been completed its image lingers in the mind, inspiring multiple meanings, responses, and reverberations. These images possess a special power of suggestion establishing natural ties between the world of the humans and that of the angels, forming radical cultural contexts.
by Vitaly Patzukov
Gary Tatintsian Gallery Inc. 508 West 26th Street # 214 New York City 10001 tele: 212 633 0110 e-mail: email@example.com Gallery Hours: Tues through Sat, 10am - 6pm