ilya + emilia kabakov build the strange city for monumenta 2014 at grand palais
 
ilya + emilia kabakov build the strange city for monumenta 2014 at grand palais ilya + emilia kabakov build the strange city for monumenta 2014 at grand palais
jun 12, 2014

ilya + emilia kabakov build the strange city for monumenta 2014 at grand palais

ilya and emilia kabakov build the strange city for monumenta 2014 at grand palais
installation view of the exhibition
© photo didier plowy for le réunion des musées nationaux – grand palais

 

 

 

 

for the sixth edition of monumenta at paris’ historic grand palais, russian-born artists ilya and emilia kabako invite visitors to lose themselves in the maze of an imaginary, built town: ‘the strange city’.
from now until june 22, 2014, viewers can experience the utopian and mysterious city, both massive and intimate at the same time. the immersive neighborhood constructed within the glass vaulted monument aims to question the human condition and ‘the great visions of progress, science, and human upliftment that could have led to the brink of disaster’, kabakov describes. the site comprises nine distinct sectors: the dome, the entrance to the city, the empty museum, manas, the center of cosmic energy, how to meet an angel, the gates, the white chapel and the dark chapel.

monumenta 2014 ilya and emilia kabakov grand palais
installation view of the exhibition
© photo didier plowy for le réunion des musées nationaux – grand palais

 

 

 

‘the entrance to the city’ exists as gateway to the installation. ‘the empty museum’ is saturated by oval pools of light while johann sebastian bach’s ‘passacaglia’ fills the room with music.

monumenta 2014 ilya and emilia kabakov grand palais
installation views of the exhibition
© photos didier plowy for le réunion des musées nationaux – grand palais

 

 

 

‘manas’ is the central model, that is a reconstruction of a city that once existed to the north of tibet.

monumenta 2014 ilya and emilia kabakov grand palais
model of the strange city
© ilya et emilia kabakov / ADAGP, paris 2014

 

 

 

‘the centre of cosmic energy’ is comprised of three buildings: the ancient reservoir of cosmic energy, the centre of cosmic energy and the laboratory for communicating with the noosphere (a concept used to denote the ‘sphere of human thought’). cosmic energy flows towards the earth at a 60° angle. combining the archaeological discovery of ancient antennas and the equipment to capture signals from the cosmos, the centre and its laboratory attempt to explain the relations between the past and distant worlds

monumenta 2014 ilya and emilia kabakov grand palais
study for the entrance of the city
© ilya et emilia kabakov / ADAGP, paris 2014

 

 

 

‘the gate’ marks the rift between the interior and the exterior, between the private domain and the social sphere, between the individual and the collective.

monumenta 2014 ilya and emilia kabakov grand palais
drawing study for an overview of the strange city
© ilya et emilia kabakov / ADAGP, paris 2014

 

 

 

‘how to meet an angel’ is symbolic of an allegorical figure who urges moral improvement, predicts the loss of spirituality and the domination of materialism, or reminds us that mental illnesses can bring us closer to absolute knowledge and spiritual fulfillment.

 

 


the strange city under construction
video courtesy of grand palais

 

 

 

‘the dome’ evokes the theory expounded by russian musician alexander scriabin, who created a color organ based around the ideas of synesthesia.

monumenta 2014 ilya and emilia kabakov grand palais
the dome exhibition views
© photos didier plowy for le réunion des musées nationaux – grand palais

 

 

 

in ‘the white chapel’ images of soviet propaganda can be seen. the huge black stain above the entrance represents the place destined for the last judgement and tragic representations of hell in the christian tradition. like ‘the white chapel’, ‘the dark chapel’ reproduces the proportions of a renaissance church, but the zenithal lighting resembles more an artist’s workshop than a church.

monumenta 2014 ilya and emilia kabakov grand palais
white chapel
© photo didier plowy for le réunion des musées nationaux – grand palais

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