One of the most fascinating aspects of the drone industry is the new ways that drones are contributing to every aspect of our lives, from industrial inspections to artistic installations. From drone dance and performance and Intel light shows, drones are an increasing part of the artistic world. Now, a drone plays a significant role in a major installation by famous modern artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, exiled Russian artists showing a major work for the first time in Russia.
The work is groundbreaking is many ways. How to Meet an Angel shows a man on top of a staircase – visited twice a day by an angel just out of reach, an angel carried to the man by drone.
The following is a press release from the Russian Garage Museum of Modern Art.
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.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933, Dnepropetrovsk) is the most acclaimed contemporary artist from Russia, one of the key figures in the history of Moscow Conceptualism, and the inventor of the total installation. After graduating in drawing from the Surikov Institute in Moscow in 1951, he worked as an illustrator of children’s books and magazines. In the 1960s, he started working with other techniques and produced the first works that would define Moscow Conceptualism. In the 1980s, Kabakov began making installations reflecting on Soviet communal life, the best-known being The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment (1982, Centre Georges Pompidou), which was the first of his total installations (large-scale projects that involved working with large spaces). In the late 1980s, Kabakov became active on the European and American art scenes. His wife, Emilia Kabakov, became his permanent collaborator.
Emilia Kabakov (b. 1945, Dnepropetrovsk) studied at the Moscow Central Music School from 1952 to 1958, and in music colleges in Irkutsk and Dnepropetrovsk from 1962 to 1966. From 1969 to 1972 she studied Spanish and Literature at Moscow State University. In 1973, Emilia emigrated to Israel, and later moved to the United States in 1975. Ilya and Emilia have worked together since 1989 and have been married since 1992.