• Ilya & Emilia Kabakov. Under the snow
  • Ilya & Emilia Kabakov. Under the snow
Ilya & Emilia Kabakov. Under the snow


Ilya Kabakov, born September 1933, and Emilia Kabakov, born December 1945, both in Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine), are two of the most internationally important husband-and-wife artists to emerge from the former Soviet Union. Ilya Kabakov, considered the father of Russian conceptual art, trained at the Surikov Art Academy and worked in Moscow from the 1950s until the end of the 80s. Emilia has worked since 1975 as an exhibition organiser and art dealer, and has collaborated with Ilya since 1989.

Over more than four decades they have created a large body of paintings, drawings, installations and theoretical texts, many of which evoke the visual culture of the Soviet Union. Unlike other underground Russian artists, Ilya Kabakov joined the Union of Soviet Artists in 1959 and became a full member in 1965. Despite his position as an “official artist”, he also worked on his own projects, which became increasingly experimental in the 1960s and conceptual in the 70s. He became an important figure in the circle of dissident artists. He lived in Russia until 1987. In 1992 he moved with his wife Emilia to New York. Today, he lives and works on Long Island.

This exhibition in Es Baluard is the first time work by the Kabakovs has been shown in the Balearic Islands. It is made up of large-format paintings and drawings from the Under the Snow series created between 2004 and 2006. Although he has mainly focused on installations since the 1990s, Kabakov has returned with vigour to painting, which he had never really left since he began in 1956. And he has done this with works that remind you of the small windows of landscape that you can see between the clouds when you are travelling by plane, or those holes in the snow through which you can see fragments of the earth.

Social analysis, incitement to reflection, Kabakov explains the birth and the decline of the Soviet Union, while alluding to the “defrosting” that occurred during the Destalinisation or Khrushchev period, as a mosaic of fragments and memories that bring together history, landscape painting and abstraction. Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are the first living artists to have exhibited in the State Hermitage Museum (2004) and their works form part of such major collections as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Pompidou and the Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art.

Location-Hall: Floor -1
Production: Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma

12th June 2009 → 6th September 2009
Curator: Cristina Ros