• DEC 01 to APR 28
    Group Exhibition
    Lissitzky - Kabakov Utopia and Reality


    • Group Exhibition
    • Contemporary

    Dates and Opening hours

    DEC 01, 2012 to APR 28, 2013

    The Van Abbemuseum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday, with the exception of public holidays.

    Event Location

    Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum




    The Van Abbemuseum asked the artists Ilya (1933) and Emilia (1945) Kabakov to organise an exhibition of their work together with that of El Lissitzky (1890-1941), as guest curators.

    For the 'Lissitzky – Kabakov' exhibition they made an extensive selection from their own work and that of Lissitzky. It is the first time that the oeuvres of these famous 20th-century Russian artists are being presented together. Bringing together Lissitzky and the Kabakovs completes the circle which started with the revolutions in the early years of the twentieth century and finished with the upheavals of 1989. The confrontation between early Soviet art and that of the later Soviet era presents opportunities for a better understanding of the art and culture of the intervening period. 

    The Lissitzky – Kabakov exhibition will take place on two floors in the new building of the Van Abbemuseum and is designed by the Kabakovs. The first floor and the seven halls on the second floor each have their own theme and a different aspect of the works of Lissitzky and Kabakov is compared every time.

    In addition to works from the collection of the Kabakovs and the Van Abbemuseum, there will be loans from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris, as well as from a number of private collections. Some of the Kabakovs’ installations have also been recreated for this occasion. The exhibition is part of NLRF2013, the Dutch – Russian year and travels to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Multimedia Art Museum (MAMM) in Moscow in 2013.

    Traditionally the artist has been seen as someone who holds up a mirror to the society he lives in. But art is also assigned the role of showing us a new world. In this exhibition these two functions of art are played out against each other in many different ways. Lissitzky’s enthusiasm for the revolution and his involvement in the new social order is present everywhere in the exhibition. In contrast, we constantly come across the Kabakovs’ melancholic but also humoristic representation and interpretation of the conditions in the late Soviet era. The mother country of both the artists had become a place where the rhetoric of progress had run aground on the everyday reality of life in that society. Nevertheless, it proved possible to re-emerge from this twilight zone.

    Visitors opinion

    If you have visited this event, please share your opinion with us.

    For full information on our approach to users' comments on our site, please see our publishing policy.