Ilya & Emilia Kabakov “Monument To a Lost Civilization”

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s exhibition ‘Monument To a Lost Civilization’ will open at Red October gallery on October, 25th. The installation that was on view at the 1st Kiev Biennale of Contemporary Art ‘Arsenale 2012’ will be presented for the first time in Moscow. This exhibition is organized by Red October gallery in collaboration with Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

World-renowned artist Ilya Kabakov is regarded as a living classic of contemporary art which was confirmed by the countless exhibitions in Europe and the United States. His famous “total” installations are well-known around the world; they have been exhibited at the leading art institutions like Centre Pompidou in Paris, the MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, at the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel. Since 1989 Ilya has been working in collaboration with his wife Emilia Kabakov.

In Russia in the 2000-s their solo exhibitions were held at the Tretyakov Art Gallery, the Hermitage Museum, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Art Centers “Garage” and “Winzavod”.

‘Monument To a Lost Civilization’ was first displayed in 1999 in Palermo and includes 37 installations, consisting of 140 individual pieces, collages and artists’ texts and documents. Ilya Kabakov: “This has been my principal dream over the last ten years – to set up a monument to the civilization where I was born, where I studied, and where I lived: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that no longer exists. I’d like to create an image of that place, not an objective one, of course, but the way I saw it and felt it, that is a highly subjective. My longing got even more imperious after this civilization that was meant to last for ages fell apart and vanished so abruptly and promptly for its inhabitants”. ‘Monument To a Lost Civilization’ was intended by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov to be exhibited underground in a windowless space. Viewers’ confusion was supposed to impart the sense of the Soviet Union.


The installation displays the life of the bygone Soviet society. The authors depict the tension between the real and the ideal, the struggle of developing one’s humanity within the confines of a strictly authoritarian society. Illustrating the Soviet totalitarian political system, ‘Monument To a Lost Civilization’ refers generally to any society which has an immense impact on a human personality and at times subdues him and makes him forget who he is.

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