new-york

Ilya Kabakov

Ronald Feldman Gallery

In “The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges constructs the evocative metaphor of a library with endless rooms as a means of representing the way humanity structures society. The Soviet artist, Ilya Kabakov, also uses the matrix of adjacent rooms to invoke a metaphor of the world in his first solo exhibition in the United States, “Ten Characters.” The show consisted of ten, specially constructed rooms flanking a central hallway. The rooms took the form of a communal apartment, common to most Soviet metropolises, in which several families live simultaneously and share a common anteroom, corridor, and kitchen. Unlike the identical rooms in Borges’ meta-informational world, the rooms in Kabakov’s cosmos were varied. Each room assumed the individual character of its fictional inhabitant(s), and was shaped by that tenant’s idiosyncratic struggle toward self-expression within the constrictions

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