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Ilya Kabakov

Ilya Kabakov


Ilya Kabakov - biography

Date of birth: 09/30/1933 (88 years old)

Place of birth: Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine)

Born in Dnepropetrovsk in the family of Joseph Bentsionovich Kabakov, a locksmith, and Bella Yudelevna Solodukhina, an accountant. In 1941, together with his mother, he was evacuated to Samarkand. In 1943 he was admitted to the art school at the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after Repin, which was evacuated to Samarkand. From there, in 1945, he transferred to the Moscow Secondary Art School, from which he graduated in 1951 and entered the Surikov Moscow Art Institute (Department of Graphic Design and Book Illustration). In 1957 he received a diploma and over the next thirty years worked as an illustrator of children's books, including: fairy tales by Charles Perrault, stories by Julian Tuwim, poems by Samuil Marshak, etc. He also illustrated the magazines Murzilka, Funny Pictures and the almanac Round year". Collaborated with publishing houses: "Children's Literature", "Children's World", "Detgiz", "Kid".

In the late 1960s, he got at his disposal a workshop in the center of Moscow in the attic of a former apartment building on Sretensky Boulevard, created an informal association of artists "Sretensky Boulevard".

In 1968, together with Oleg Vasilyev, Eric Bulatov and other nonconformists, he participated in an exhibition in the Moscow Blue Bird cafe.

From 1970 to 1976 he drew 55 sketchbooks for the Ten Characters series.

In 1988 he emigrated to the USA. He began to work in a new genre - a total installation, which, according to the artist, should resemble a theater stage when the viewer rises to it during the intermission.

Installations: "The life and work of Charles Rosenthal", "Toilet", "The man who flew into space", "Where are we", "Answers of the experimental group", etc.

Since 1989 he has been working in collaboration with his wife.

Kabakov's works are in the collections of the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, the Hermitage, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

He took part in a huge number of exhibitions in all the leading museums of the world, in particular in such countries as Portugal, Norway, Italy, USA, Finland, Holland, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, Australia.

In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate of philosophy from the University of Bern (Switzerland).

In 2003, the project “Ilya Kabakov. Photo and video documentation of life and work.

In 2004, the Tretyakov Gallery hosted the exhibition “Ilya Kabakov. Ten Characters.

In the same year, the Hermitage hosted the exhibition “A Case in the Museum and Other Installations”.

Since 2007 - Honorary Doctor of Philosophy of the Sorbonne (France).

He is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.

In 2008, he published the book "60s-70s ... Notes on unofficial life in Moscow."

In 2012, a large installation "Monument to a Lost Civilization" was presented in the Red October Gallery on the territory of the former Red October factory.


▪ German Ludwig Prize (1989)

▪ Danish Prize of the Arthur Kopske Foundation (1992)

▪ Venice Biennale Prize (1993)

▪ French Order of Arts and Letters (1995)

▪ Award for the best exhibition in New York (1997)

▪ German Kaiser Prize of the City of Goslar (1998)

▪ Austrian Oskar Kokoschka Prize (2002)

▪ Japanese Imperial Prize for Sculpture (2008)

▪ Order of Friendship (2008)


Wife - Emilia, art critic and artist (married in 1992)


September 30, 1933
Ilya Kabakov was born in Dnipro.


Further reading


Documentaries, videos and podcasts

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