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The Kabakovs were born in Dnepropetrovsk, Russia. They live and work in Long Island, New York.


20 Ways to get an Apple listening to the Music of Mozart, 1997

In 20 Ways to get an Apple listening to the Music of Mozart installation, the viewer sees an enormous table occupying a disproportionate space in a room. Exactly in the middle of the table is a plate with an apple lying on it, though impossible to reach. The music of Mozart, can be heard in the room.

The texts lying to the right of the plates tell about and explain a “way” to get the apple. Each time, this way is new and unexpected: philosophical, linguistic, magical, technological, psychological, political, etc. Each way is described in extraordinary detail and very seriously, and in a certain sense, all of this taken together – all 20 ways – represent a small encyclopaedia of  all possible way of appropriation – except of course the most simple and inaccessible way: to grab it with your hand and take it.


Concert for a Fly, 1986

A closed circle of 12 music stands, with a chair behind each one, ready for a chamber concert. On the music stands are grey cardboard pages with pictures at the top and text below.

A fly (drawn on paper) hangs immobile above the very center of the circle formed by the music stands, at a height of approximately 3.5 meters. It is very easy to find it in the air, despite its small size, as the music stands are arranged in a perfect circle and especially their angles direct our attention to it.

The viewer walks around the entire installation. Everything looks rather serious, respectable; everything seems to indicate that the concert is about to begin.

What is the fly doing, suspended immobile above the very center? Is it getting ready to conduct the musicians once they take their seats? Or is it hanging immobile in the air, absorbed by the beautiful music, and in complete oblivion, assuming that the concert is taking place on account of it, and perhaps even in its honor?


Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are Russian-born, American- based artists that collaborate on environments which fuse elements of the everyday with those of the conceptual. While their work is deeply rooted in the Soviet social and cultural context in which the Kabakovs came of age, their work still attains a universal significance.

2017: Ilya & Emilia Kabakov: Not Everybody Will be Taken Into the Future, Tate Modern, London, UK; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, USA; 2016: Art & Language and Ilya Kabakov, The non-Objective World, Sprovieri, London UK; Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Continua Gallery, San Gimignano, Italy.



20 Ways to get an Apple listening to the Music of Mozart,

Concert for a Fly (Chamber Music)

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