The struggle with one's own memories, especially those of an unofficial artist in the last decades of the Soviet Union, has been the dominant theme of the work of Ilya Kabakov (born 1933 in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine), since his 1987 move to the west. Kabakov invites us to enter a private sphere and reminds us of the ugly, depressing aspects of Russian Communism's decline into paranoia and oppression. The driving force behind Kabakov's artistic production has remained a recapitulation of his own past under the disintegration of Soviet civilization.
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Born in Dnepopetrovsk, USSR, in 1933, Ilya Kabakov graduated from the V.A. Surikov Art Academy, Moscow, in 1957, and joined the Soviet Artist's Union in 1965. After winning numerous prizes for his art all over the world and on both sides of the Iron Curtain-particularly after the late 1980s onset of "perestroika" allowed him to build a career in the West-Kabakov settled in New York City in 1992, where he continues to live and work, along with his wife Emilia.
"A person has left traces in the world. Has created nothing new in the world, nothing not already there, but has gone and left traces--and not in some metaphoric sense but rather entirely prosaically: that someone has walked across a freshly scrubbed floor in street shoes." --Ilya Kabakov
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