This summer Garage will present How to Meet an Angel, an installation by the conceptual artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, which will be built outside the Museum.
The most recognizable Russian contemporary artists on the international scene, the Kabakov duo are known for their paintings, objects, albums, books, models, drawings, and total installations—highly detailed spaces that recreate a particular scene or phenomenon.
In Moscow, the artists will present How to Meet an Angel for the first time. This large-scale installation inscribed into the landscape consists of an intricate ladder supported by several structures and rising into the sky. On the ladder a modestly dressed figure is visible, with hands extended toward the sky in the hope of meeting an angel. The figure may be waiting in vain, but as the audience will learn from the performative part of the project—created specifically for the show at Garage—the encounter is possible.
This romantic scene presents a theme that is recurrent in the duo’s work: a small human creature trying to break away from their frail and predictable world. The installation also addresses another element that can be found in many of the Kabakovs’ works: the idea of flying, of which two polar incarnations can be found in the images of a fly—that most trivial creature from the reality of Soviet communal living—and an angel, a pure celestial being representing an unattainable, mystical world.
With this project, the duo and Garage continue their long history of collaboration. In 2008, an exhibition by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov was the Museum’s inaugural show in its first home, the Melnikov Bus Garage, and in 2013 the artists presented the project The Ship of Tolerance on the Pioneer Pond by the Museum’s temporary pavilion, designed by Shigeru Ban. In 2018, to mark Ilya Kabakov’s 85th birthday, Garage produced a documentary on the life and work of the artists.