Thursday, March 17, 2011

Two more Kabakov installations

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, "The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away
(The Garbage Man)", 1988. Photo from artnet.

"The Garbage Man (The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away)"

Unlike the Kabakov installation I showed on Tuesday, this one can be entered. Three rooms that allude a kommunalka are filled with junk that has been collected by the imaginary owner of the apartment. Everything is neatly labelled and organized on tables, in cabinets, and on charts that cover the walls.

What would otherwise be considered waste is turned into art that can make us reflect on just how much junk we leave behind. And the stuffiness and dusty feeling underneath naked light bulbs becomes a nightmare where we never get rid of all that junk.

We become touched by the love this person has put into his tedious archival work, and by the memories that can be attached to details from our own past.

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, "Treatment with Memories", 1997. Photo from artnet.

"Treatment With Memories"

I saw this installation in the 1997 Whitney Biennial, and have thought of it many times since.

Walking through a corridor with fainted "hospital green" colored walls, I reached a barren room where simple iron beds were turned towards one projector each, showing images from the absent clients' early lives. Supposedly as treatment against dementia.

But there were no other signs of human life in the room, just an eerie notion that death had already arrived, and that the images that flickered in the light from the projectors would continue as eternal loops.

"The Garbage Man" can be visited at The National Museum in Oslo until January 15, 2012

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