Van Abbemuseum announces Lissitkzy – Kabakov, Utopia and Reality

Van Abbemuseum presents Lissitkzy – Kabakov, Utopia and Reality, an exhibition on view 1 December 2012–28 April 2013.

The Van Abbemuseum asked the artists Ilya (b. 1933) and Emilia (b. 1945) Kabakov to organise an exhibition of their work together with that of El Lissitzky (1890–1941), as guest curators. For the Lissitzky – Kabakov exhibition, they made an extensive selection from their own work and that of Lissitzky. It is the first time that the oeuvres of these famous 20th-century Russian artists are being presented together. Bringing together Lissitzky and the Kabakovs completes the circle which started with the revolutions in the early years of the twentieth century and finished with the upheavals of 1989. The confrontation between early Soviet art and that of the later Soviet era presents opportunities for a better understanding of the art and culture of the intervening period. In addition to works from the collection of the Kabakovs and the Van Abbemuseum, there will be loans from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris, as well as from a number of private collections. Some of the Kabakovs’ installations have also been recreated for this occasion.

Two sides of the Soviet coin
Lissitzky’s enthusiasm for the revolution and his involvement in the new social order is present everywhere in the exhibition. In contrast, one constantly comes across the Kabakovs’ melancholic but also humorous representation and interpretation of the conditions of the late Soviet era. The mother country of both the artists had become a place where the rhetoric of progress had run aground on the everyday reality of life in that society. Nevertheless, it proved possible to re-emerge from this twilight zone.

Van Abbemuseum
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Eindhoven, The Netherlands
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