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Ilya & Emelia Kavakov

Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933, Russia) & Emilia Kabakov (b. 1945, Russia)

Married to each other, artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov now live and work in Long Island, USA, but were both born and raised in the former Soviet Union. Their Soviet roots shape their work, but their art also speaks eloquently about universal human conditions. Since the late 1980s the two artists have created their works together as collaborative efforts.

Their art is often based on the interaction and encounter between everyday objects and rather more conceptual elements. They create environments that combine familiar everyday elements with more abstract phenomena.

Ilya studied art at the V. Surikov Moscow State Academy Art Institute. In the 1950s he illustrated children’s books and was part of a group of conceptual artists in Moscow who worked outside of the official Soviet art system. From 1988 Ilya began collaborating with his future wife, Emilia (the couple married in 1992). Emilia was born in the Soviet Union in 1945. She attended the Irkutsk academy of music and also studied Spanish language and literature at the university of Moscow. She moved to New York in 1975, where she worked as a curator and art dealer.

The year after they were married, in 1993, the couple represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennial, presenting an installation in The Red Pavilion.

The artists are represented in:
Chapter 3 – Painting with Time and Space: From ZERO to today

Socle du Monde Biennale 2017 is supported by: