Charles Rosenthal (1896 – 1933), Ilya Kabakov (born 1933), Igor Spivak (born 1970) are three artists succeeding and influencing each other. Art history at its finest, only that two of these three artists are completely fictitious. They never existed and are just part of a "total" installation by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov of which the "Rooms 2 & 3" are shown in the Kewenig Galerie.
Within the framework of this installation the Kabakovs make up biographies, construct personal souvenirs, photographs and finally create art works of Rosenthal and Spivak. They stage the lives and the artistic opus down to the last detail. By creating fictitious artists' personalities Ilya and Emilia Kabakov succeed in describing and visualizing an artistic history of development. In this way they are amplifying the natural boundaries of their own creativity. That way they can revive the past from the perspective of another era and can also anticipate a continuation of their own art thru Spivak's works.
The installation in the Kewenig Galerie will show paintings in which Ilya Kabakov combines suprematistic forms with realistic views. Large-scaled dark backgrounds provide a partial frame surrounding two sides of a painting. The foregrounds show realistic landscapes and portraits of socialistic Russia. A distinguishing characteristic of Realistic Painting in the former USSR (also emerging in Rosenthal’s paintings) was a bright background as a symbol of hope and the uprising after the Revolution. In contrary to Rosenthal Kabakov grew up during a time in the Soviet Union when hope had already decreased. This experience leaves – still today - a feeling of pessimism and melancholy in Ilya Kabakov. Therefore he reverses the good omen to a bad one by turning the backgrounds to gloomy surfaces. Only his fictitious disciple Spivak will readopt the hopeful white backgrounds. But him showing only fragments of realistic themes they seem like blank spaces which seem to leave behind several questions regarding the future of his Russian homeland.
As in every installation by Kabakov nothing will be left to chance. The beholder will be lead to an elaborately composed world so that he can indulge in his own memories and associations. Benches, which seem to invite the beholder to dwell in front of the paintings, and grey toned wall's will create a museum atmosphere in the gallery. This atmosphere is part of Kabakov's installation.