【ETAT2021 Pre-exhibition】A special exhibition, "16 Ropes" by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov


From the iconic artwork of ETAT “The Rice Field” (2000) to “The Arch of Life” (2015), Ilya and Emilia Kabakov have been supporting ETAT for over 20 years. They will entrust their dream to the community which will come to fruition called “Kabakovs’ Dream” in the summer of 2021.

There will be a labyrinth of “10 Albums”, an artwork like fantastic picture-story cards featuring ten different dreamers and “the Palace of Projects”, an installation of small objects representing dreams of people wishing to change the world and themselves as well as clouds and angels in Matsudai Nohbutai whereas “the Monument of Tolerance” which connects the community with the world will be installed in the mountain of Matsudai as a symbol of co-existance.

Prior to the unprecedented birth of the collections of artworks by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, we are pleased to present “16 Ropes”, the installation to be shown at KINARE during ETAT2021 in summer, as a special pre-exhibition. Let’s sneak-peek the dream of Kabakov.

※ Cover photo: Concept drawing (1995)

An installation "16 Ropes"

This installation is one of the Kabakov’s masterpieces which has been re-created from time to time since 1984.

208 of “garbage” fragments such as pices of paper and tree barks with written texts are hanging on the sixteen ropes streaching across above head.  The texts consist of conversations on nature, child, health, house chores and love.

View of installation, Moscow studio (1984) (Photo: Jurii Geltov)

“The lilac is blooming beautifully!
We must bring it home.”

“Is there anywhere to go tonight?
Everything is so boring, I don’t know what to do.”

“I don’t know what happened to the weather.
Please, put on the coat with the hood.”

“Come home earlier today.
You can help me paint the door.”

“If you will eat the soup, I will heat it… Just go and wash your hands. ”

“Why did you go in the mud?
Who will wash this for you?”

“We had such a good time.
Why didn’t you come in the evening?”

“When will you come home?
Masha is almost grown up. ”

“Do you love me?
Then go and buy the bread…”

“You’ll be leaving soon.
Look, everyone has left.”

The artist describes these phrases as “non-individualised speech which could belong to “each and every person”. In the Soviet era, Ilya Kabakov started to record voices of people in order to remember the society and people living in such society he belonged. This artwork reflects the artist’s desire to remember everyday life, emotion and life of every single person.

Closing day of the studio exhibition in Moscow (1984) (Photo: Ilya Kabakov)

Detail of installation, Moscow studio (1984) (Photo: Ilya Kabakov)

In this exhibition, visitors will light up the artwork installed in the dark room with torch. It will be an exciting experience like an adventure or an exploration which would give you a feeling of nostalgia as you re-experience countless number of somebody’s lives even though they are unknown to you.

The concept of the artwork resonates well with the space of Matsudai History Museum where the memory of local life and culture are presented.

Sketch (view), not dated, by Ilya Kabakov

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

Ilya Kabakov was born in former Soviet Union (the present Ukraine) in 1933. While building his career as children’s book illustrator between 1950 and 1980, he continued to pursue his artistic activity outside the official Soviet art framework. He moved his base to overseas in mid 1980s and presented “total installation” at art exhibitions including at the 45th Venice Biennale and Documenta IX. The collaboration with Emilia (born in 1945) began in 1988. Past exhibitions in Japan include “Life and Creativity of Charles Rosenthal” (1999), “Where is Our Place?” (2004), “Ilya Kabakov ORBIS PICTUS Children’s Book Illustrator as a Social Character” (2007) while in Echigo-Tsumari, they have created “The Rice Field” (2000) and “The Arch of Life” (2015). They received The Praemium Imperiale in 2008. Kabakov lives and works in New York, USA.

※Photo : Yuri Rost


Date and time Saturday 13 March to Sunday 20 June 2021

Matsudai History Museum

Admission Adult 800JPY, Children under 15 400 JPY (including the admission fee)
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