The Fly with Wings

Concept drawing of the installation planned for the Pushkin Museum, Moscow 1984, 1995, watercolor, felt pen and correction fluid on sheets of drawing paper that have been glued together, 28,1 x 27,3 cm, signed bottom right

Year: 1984



Collection of the artist


First project for an installation in the White Hall of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, 1984.

New Works for Different Places: TSWG Four Cities. Project, Orchard Gallery, Londonderry, 1 – 29 September 1990. 

Kunst, Europa: Sowjetunion, Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, 22 June – 25 August 1991. 

Ilya Kabakov. Das Leben der Fliegen, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 2 February – 29 March 1992 (as part of No 56,

The Life of Flies).

 Ilya Kabakov. The Life of Flies, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, 1 March – 5 April 1997 (as part of No 56, The Life of Flies).


The entire installation consists of one large drawing (55 x 45 cm) of a ‘fly’ and 132 pages of typed text, each page of which is enclosed in a glass frame. The installation was specifically intended for the ‘White Hall’ of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and therefore the description of the installation will be based on this dwelling. The layout of the ‘White Hall’ is somewhat similar to an ancient temple. In the wall opposite the entrance, there is a semi-circular high recess resembling a distinctive altar, where a sculpture or some significant work of this hall can be displayed. Precisely in this place on this wall hangs the drawing of the fly in a dark-brown wooden frame. Sixty comments made by viewers about the exhibited drawing hang along both sides of the Fly. The side walls of the hall are filled with texts as well (each page is on a different mat and separate glass). Since all the texts are grouped into articles, the intervals between ‘group-articles’ are bigger than the intervals between each page. At the entrance to the hall, the poster for the exhibit hangs on the right, the layout of the exhibit on the left.

In terms of content, the composition represents a sort of upside-down pyramid standing on its top and widening out upward. The drawing of the fly serves as the top, further are the opinions of viewers who comment on this drawing that form two diverging branches coming from it, further are arranged two articles by a ‘psychologist’ commenting on these comments by viewers, further in the same order are two articles by an historian explaining the opinions of the psychologist and the comments by viewers, etc., getting wider and ‘more sophisticated,’ encompassing and explaining the previous articles. In this way, the verbal material is all similar in appearance, but in terms of its internal structure, this verbal material has a visible ‘plastic (dynamic)’ shape.



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