The Art Barge’s Artists Speak continues on Wednesday, July 17 with Emilia and Ilya Kabakov, who are widely recognized as pioneers of installation art, specifically of the “total installation”.
“The theme of Collaborations for this season’s Artists Speak was inspired by our founders Mabel and Victor D’Amico’s own collaborative existence: they were partners in life and art, motivating and inspiring each other as much as the people around them—students, colleagues, or friends. Their legacy continues to inspire us today,” Esperanza Leon, Administrative Coordinator, The Victor D’Amico Institute of Art / The Art Barge, shared.
Collectively, the Kabakovs are responsible for more than 200 immersive installations and other conceptual works that focus on the themes of utopia and dreams, as well as the apprehension to contemplate the universal human condition.
Born in Dnepropetrovsk, in the former USSR, Emilia immigrated to the USA in 1973, while Ilya left in 1987 to travel Europe and America. The duo started working together in 1989 and married three years later. Today, they reside and work on the North Fork of Long Island.
During Artists Speak, the Kabakovs will cover several works and their individual and shared histories. The evening will also showcase two of the couple’s significant works, How To Make Yourself Better and a model of Ship Of Tolerance, on display – just for the evening.
“For some people, visiting our installations is only a ‘visit’ to an exhibition. For others, it is an invitation to reach your own inner resources, to find inside of yourself the strength and the power to change the world,” Emilia reflected about the total installations she collaboratively creates with Ilya.
Through How To Make Yourself Better, people are asked to delve into the question: “How can you make yourself better, kinder, more decent?” For Ship Of Tolerance, an ongoing project, sailboats are constructed in various cities with the assistance of local schoolchildren. The purpose of the conceptual piece is to highlight how divergent cultures construe tolerance and how the interpretations often overlap. Through the project, the artists hope to convey a message of tolerance and hope by connecting youth of different continents, cultures, and identities through the language of art.
“Although of a later generation than the D’Amicos, Emilia and Ilya Kabakov are rooted in a humanist approach to art. Much like Mabel and Victor did, the Kabakovs believe in the transformative power of art and its ability to improve the individual and society,” Leon added. “Through their conversation and the two exemplary works on display for the evening, we will learn how they have been creative agents of change and how we, too, can make ourselves and the world better.”
Artists Speak with Emilia and Ilya Kabakov will begin at 6 p.m. Admission is $20.
Following the Kabakovs, Artists Speak will welcome Alex and Maira Kalman on August 14.
The Art Barge is located at 110 Napeague Meadow Road in Amagansett. For more information, call 631-267-3172 or visit theartbarge.org.