This is an exhibition I recently saw and impressed me at Tate Modern.

Ilya Kabakov was born in 1933 in the Former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. He and his wife Emilia collaborate to create art works. In their works reflect the fantasy and reality of the Soviet Union as the creative background.

Into their exhibition, the first feeling came through my mind is : The works are very direct drama and full of emotions that unable to vent. Almost all installations and paintings are presented in large format. And the viewer is enough to be touched even without understanding the background of the Soviet Union.

There are many installation works at first I think they are a little rough and direct, but it forms a special language. In-depth understanding I can feel the artist has a profound background of the times and creative enthusiasm.


One of the most impressive work I like is the “Labyrinth (My Mother’s Album)”.


He reminded me of a theater experience of  “Sleep no more” in New York. This is a large installation, the entrance is a door. First of all you have to go through a dark corridor, the ceiling hung with weak chandeliers. I think this arrangement is very delicate, in the process I feel like entering another era of memory. Behind another door, we started the journey of the maze with the old pictures of the artist’s uncle hanging on the wall and the diary written by the mother below. The text records the mother’s life and mood. However, in my opinion these emotions are like the attention  between the distance. As the above photos and texts are in general, we are struggling to find the connection between the two. After crossing the maze, there was a song   from rubble at the bottom.


Here are some of the narratives captured on the site:

Kabakov has described his personal memories of corridors as the site of boredom and expectation. He has said, ‘Numerous corridors have persecuted me all my life – straight ones, long ones, short ones, narrow ones, twisted ones, but in my imagination, they are all poorly lit and always without windows, with closed or semi-closed doors along both sides … All the corridors of my life, from earliest childhood on, have been connected with [the] torture of endless anticipation’ (Kabakov, ‘“The Corridor (My Mother’s Album)” 1988’, The Text as the Basis of Visual Expression, p.369). The process of negotiating the claustrophobic corridors in the installation gives the viewer a similar experience of being trapped in time waiting for something that will never come. Kabakov intends the central room to be deliberately anti-climactic: after wandering through the corridors, the viewer is confronted only with rubble and the melancholic sound of singing.








Yu Ting Hsu