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"ILYA KABAKOV: Life and Creativity of Charles Rosenthal"

August 7 (Sat) to November 3 (Wed), 1999

Purport of the Exhibition

Ilya Kabakov (1933- ), an artist from Ukraine in the former Soviet Union, went to the West, before the end of the Cold War, to concentrate on creative work. His large-scale installation works called "total installation," have been highly regarded in the art circles in the West since his first one-person show was held in Bern in 1985.

Ilya Kabakov, who is now based in New York, continued actively working in Europe and North America. Today he is one of the most highly regarded artists in the world. In recent years, his most common style is a poetic fantasy expressed in two-dimensional works, or a dreamy world, (as if he were searching his memory of childhood), displayed in installation works.

His new paintings are featured in this solo exhibition at Art Tower Mito, and "Charles Rosenthal" in the title is his fictitious artist's name. The exhibition, which is planned to match the space of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, employs a unique multi-faceted display of a variety of paintings, in a retrospective form, created by Rosenthal in his short life.

The assumption is that Charles Rosenthal, who was good at acquiring techniques and skills, was influenced by the trends of the early 20th century, tried many different ways of expression, and died young. Based on that assumption, Ilya Kabakov created paintings to develop the story in the exhibition. From the end of the 19th century till the beginning of the 20th century, when Rosenthal lived, the avant-garde art movement peaked in Russia. Therefore, this exhibition can be said to present a fundamental issue regarding artists and expression, by depicting a historical background of artistic development as well as a personal history.

Ilya Kabakov thinks representation of words and narrative style of paintings are very important, and in a corner of the exhibition, his recent books and materials are arranged like a library.


Title of the Exhibition: ILYA KABAKOV: Life and Creativity of Charles Rosenthal
Place: Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito
Period: From August 7 (Saturday), to November 3 (Wednesday and national holiday), 1999
Closed on Mondays, but open on October 11 (Monday) and closed on October 12 (Tuesday)
Time: Doors open at 9:30 and close at 18:30 (No admittance after 18:00)
Organizer: Mito Arts Foundation
Grant from: The Japan Foundation, Pola Art Foundation
Sponsor: Toyota Motor Corporation
Cooperation: All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA), Nippon Cargo Airlines Co., Ltd. (NCA), SOUM Corporation, Takeo Co., Ltd.
Curator: Eriko Osaka, Chief Curator of the Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito
Admission: 800 Japanese yen for adults; 600 yen for groups (over 20 people) and reserved tickets; free for children under 15 years of age, and seniors over 65 years of age, and disabled people
H.T.P.: 1,000 yen (one-year ticket available for people over 15 and under 20 years of age)
*H.T.P. ticket is sold at the ticket counters of JR East-Japan Midori-no-Madoguchi, View Plaza, and Art Tower Mito.

Profile of Charles Rosenthal

1898 Born to a Jewish family, as their eighth child, in Kherson, Ukraine. Named Sholom. Father kept a photo studio. After growig up some, in their wealthy relative's home in Petrograd (now St Peterburg).

1914 Entered and studied the painting basics at Shtiglitz Art-Trade School.

1918 Studied at an art school founded by Mark Chagall in Vitebsk, and learned of Suprematism.

1922 Moved to Paris, the center of art, to find out his own expression.

1933 Killed in an auto accident at Montmartre in April. His thirty posthumous paintings and forty drawings were thrust into the limelight.

Profile of Ilya Kabakov

1933 Born in Ukraine.

1951 Studied at Moscow Art School.

1957 Graduated from V.A. Surikov Art Academy, Moscow.

1985 His solo exhibition at Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland was in the spotlight in the West art circles.

1989-90 Lived and worked in Berlin. Held many solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in the West, and participated in the major international exhibitions.

1991 Came to Japan for the first time to participate in "Art on Edge" at Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa. Lived in Paris.

1992 Moved to New York. Solo exhibition at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. Participated in Documenta IX.

1993 Participated in the Venice Biennial.

1997 Solo exhibition at Satani Gallery, Tokyo. Participated in the Munster Sculpture Project.

1999 Installed a sculpture, "They are Looking Downward," in the Shirakawa Park, Nagoya.

Present Lives and works in New York.

Related Projects

A series of lectures
Title: To Read the Days and Works of Charles Rosenthal
Place: Conference room, Art Tower Mito
Date: August 21 (Saturday), 22 (Sunday), 28 (Saturday) and 29 (Sunday), 1999
Time: From 14:00 to 16:00 (Doors open at 13:30.)
Seating: 80 (on a first-come-first-served basis)
Admission: 500 yen each session, 1,600 yen for a coupon of 4 sessions
Reservation by phone:
Booking starts on August 7. Please call +81-29-225-3555 for reservations.
During the days of this serial course, if you show the stub of your ticket at the entrance-hall ticket counter, you can get a group discount admission.
1. August 21 (Saturday)
"Russian avant-garde and Suprematism"
by Yusuke Nakahara, art critic
2. August 22 (Sunday)
"Russians in Paris between 1920s and 1930s"
by Toshiharu Omuka, assistant professor at Tsukuba University
3. August 28 (Saturday)
"Russian Avant-garde and Picture Books"
by Tayo Shima, chairperson, International Children Books Council
4. August 29 (Sunday)
"Russian Avant-garde, Poetry, and Literature"
by Ikuo Kameyama, professor at Tokyo University of Foreign Languages

A live reading recital of "Ilya Kabakov"
ACM (Acting Company Mito) gives a reading recital of Ilya Kabakov's works, in the exhibition room, which look like a library. Kabakov has been active in creating works in a narrative style by combining pictures and words.
Date: October 2 (Saturday) and 3 (Sunday), 1999
Time: From 14:00 to 15:00
Place: No. 7 Room, Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito
Reading: ACM (Acting Company Mito)
Cooperation: Satani Gallery

Title: Searching for the Possibilities of the Contemporary Art
A symposium will be held to question what arts should be in today's chaotic world as it approaches the millennium. An artist, a philosopher, and a writer meet together. Simultaneous interpretations in Japanese and Russian are provided.
Date: October 15 (Friday), 1999
Time: From 13:30 to 16:30 (Doors open at 13:00)
Place: International Conference Room The Japan Foundation
Ark Mori Bldg. 20 floor
1-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Seating: 150 (on a first-come-first-served basis)
Admission: 500 yen (to be sold only on the day)
Panelists: Ilya Kabakov, artist
Boris Groys, philosopher
Takashi Tsujii, poet and writer
Moderator: Mitsuyoshi Numano, assistant professor at Tokyo University
Organizer: Mito Arts Foundation
Grant from: Pola Art Foundation
Cooperation: The Japan Foundation; Slav Language and Literature Study Group, Literature Department, Tokyo University

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