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PRINT September 1994

ILYA KABAKOV: ANSWERS OF AN EXPERIMENTAL GROUP

IT WAS IN THE MID ’70s, shortly after I moved from Leningrad to Moscow, that I met Ilya Kabakov and first saw his work. In those days Kabakov belonged to the “unofficial” Moscow art scene, and the work of “unofficial” artists could only be viewed by people who knew them personally and were invited to their studios. Back in Leningrad, I had already written about Western Conceptual art in an article about Jorge Luis Borges for an underground magazine; a number of Moscow artists had read and liked this essay, and it gained me entrée to their studios.

Much of what I saw impressed me deeply, but it was the visits with Kabakov that influenced my relationship to art, and to my own writing. His work had an instant effect on me, like a dropkick. The painting Answers of an Experimental Group was only one of the works I saw at the time, but it well illustrates the artist’s gesture, which affected me

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