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MOSCOW, MARFA, LONDON, BERLIN... DALLAS CONTEMPORARY A PRIMER TO ILYA AND EMILIA KABAKOV'S TRIUMPHANT TEXAS RETURN 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR LIFE AND WORK W orks by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov come to the Dallas C o n t e m p o r a r y this fall — a solo presentation for two of the most important artists of the post-war generation. He was the founder of the Moscow Conceptual movement; she's his collaborator and the architect of recent installations including their 2017 retrospective at the Tate Modern, London, hailed as the best show in Europe that year. For the past three decades, there hasn't been a biennial, triennial, or European capital where By Catherine D. Anspon. Portrait by Lois Seveliano. the Kabakovs' edgy, cerebral blend of political critique and visceral fantasy hasn't entranced audiences. In an exclusive for PaperCity, Emilia previews "Ilya & Emilia Kabakov: Paintings about Painting." The exhibition marks the international art couple's first project in Texas in a quarter century, since Donald Judd commissioned their now-iconic Russian schoolhouse for the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, in 1993. In a Zoom interview from her century-old North Fork, Long Island, home and studio, Kabakov opens up about a fated romance, surviving Siberia, how a career in classical piano segued into installation art, and what Donald Judd was really like. A family friendship. Emilia Kabakov: Ilya was born and grew up during Stalin times. His father is a brother of my grandmother, so he's actually my mother's cousin. I knew him all my life. His mother and father were divorced. There was a war — not enough food, not enough clothes. Being Jewish and trying to enter art school … Luckily for him, his name is Russian, not Jewish. All his life was dedicated to art. His mother recognized his talent very early and put him in art school during the war. Ilya recognized that he didn't want government commissions — doing what he'd be told to do. The easiest way, since the Revolution, for Russian painters and artists, was to choose the field that gives the possibility to make money, to be independent, and do relatively what you want: children's book illustration. That's what Ilya chose, and many of his friends. Ilya was very famous when I was a child as an illustrator of children's books. But even then, I knew he had different works in his studio. I would often come to his studio for two reasons. First, the atmosphere of calmness, concentration. And I felt safe — I could read my books, listen to music, he would paint, and that was my kind of refuge from reality. Leaving on my mind. EK: I was raised with the understanding that we were always going to leave Soviet Union. We were going to live in the West. In 1957, my parents tried to immigrate as Polish refugees in Russia. They were arrested at the airport in (Continued) Ilya and Emilia Kabakov's At The Studio Nr. 1 Archive Number 924, 2018 ALL IMAGES © ILYA AND EMILIA KABAKOV 50

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