I Will Return on April 12 ...


YEAR: 1990



Version 1

Collection Art Kite Museum Detmold, since 1 April 2000.

Version 2

Collection of the artist.

Version 3

Collection Museum of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo.


Version 1

Pictures for the Sky, Bilder für den Himmel, Arte en el cielo, L’art prend l’air, exhibition tour initiated by the Goethe-Institut Osaka 1989. The exhibition toured through different Japanese museums in 1988/89. In 1990 I Will Return on April 12 … was added by the organizers.

Haus der Kunst, Munich, 16 December, 1989 – 18 February 1990.

Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris, 24 April – 1 July 1990.

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 13 July – 6 September 1990.

Tsentralnyi Dom Khudozhnika, Moscow, 20 September – 21 October 1990.

Deichtorhallen, Hamburg 3 November – 7 December 1990.

Centro de Arte Moderna da Fundação Gulbenkian, Lisbon, 21 December 1990 – 27 January 1991.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, Brussels, 7 February – 7 April 1991.

Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 5 July – 11 August 1991.

Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, 24 August – 29 September 1991.

Promotrice delle Belle Arti, Turin, 19 October – 15 December 1991.

Salas de Exposiciones del Arenal expo ’92, Sevilla, 5 January – 9 February 1992.

Documenta-Halle, Kassel, 22 November 1992 – 28 February 1993.

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, 15 June – 26 September 1993.

Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre, Sydney, 26 December 1994 – 29 January 1995.

Petrikirche, Lübeck, 15 July – 31 August 1995.

Centro de Extensión de la Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago de Chile, 1995.

Museo nacional de bellas artes, Buenos Aires, November 1995 – February 1996.

Museo nacional de artes visuales, Parque Rodó, Montevideo, 10 July – 29 September 1996.

Fliegerhorst Hohenloh, Detmold, 22 August – 12 September 1997.

Halle Victor Hugo, Luxemburg, 5 August – 25 September 1998.

Version 2

Trans/Mission – Konst i interkulturell limbo, Rooseum, Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, 27 August – 27 October 1991 (as part of No 50, The Mental Institution or the Institute of Creative Research, Room 10).

Virtual Reality, Biennale of Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 3 December 1994 – 5 February 1995.

Absolutely International, Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles, 14 July – 12 August 1995.

Ilya Kabakov: 1969-1998, Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, 29 June – 3 September 2000.

See No 50.

Version 3

Artisti per Sarajevo, Palazzo Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (Organisation: Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and Comune di Venezia, Venice), 3 June – 7 September 1997.


In the exhibition hall, where paintings are hanging along the walls and where sculptures are standing on pedestals, there is a large piece of gray wrapping paper (5 x 3.5 meters) on which a dark blue sky covered with white clouds is painted in oil. It is drawn very approximately, crudely, in such a way merely to give us a sense of what we might feel if we were to thrust back our heads and look at the zenith on a sunny day. Thus, the ‘sky’ lying on the floor is before the viewer. Next to this paper sky is an old chair. A jacket, trousers, a shirt, an undershirt, underwear, and socks are folded and hanging neatly on the back of the chair, and under the chair are old boots; in a word, the simple wardrobe of a person who has undressed and…

A stand with a short text is on the other side of the ‘sky,’ opposite the chair with clothing.


How often I would soar above the earth, just like that, without any airplanes, balloons, even without ordinary wings! My sensations in this case didn’t differ from those of other people who found themselves in the same situation. But for me – I recall and sort through all of my flights in my memory – the most wonderful one still remains my first flight, which occurred in earliest childhood, when, it seems, I was 8 years old…

… You make a running start, take two-three quick steps on the ground, and, spreading your arms, you begin your journey through the air, having torn away from the earth. At first you fly not very high, only 3-4 meters above the earth, and you can pretty well imagine your speed (around 20 km per hour). And a small brook, almost a little stream sparkles below you: I fly right up to the edge of the precipice, and at a great distance below me I see an entire city with parks, buildings, cars, and far ahead is a sea in a blue haze. I am flying through cool air. I turn to the side, go down head first. I do somersaults as if I am in the warm water, and I experience an unbelievable feeling of bliss and peace. Simply for the sake of a joke, out of curiosity, I descend toward the buildings surrounded by trees, I peep into the windows, lingering briefly near them…

… Then I decided to ascend and to continue my flight. I lie on my back, my legs and arms are hanging downward, my face is turned upward, my eyes are half-closed, and a bright light penetrates through my eyelids. There is a marvelous, extraordinary quietness all around which is only sometimes pierced from below me by the voices of swallows and swifts. Again I decide to rise up higher and I do so smoothly and at great speed. The earth is already 5-6 km away from me, it is almost indiscernible in the bluish-rose colored haze.

And here I am already ‘between heaven and earth,’ on the border. When I open my eyes slightly there is a pure, bright blueness, a radiant sky. The sea coastline is barely discernible in the bright fog below, a thin white strip of beach…

In actual reality, I only experienced such a thing twice, and only partially at that. The first time was when I was traveling around the Crimea alone, in an area that at the time was still the completely deserted, undeveloped coastline of the Black Sea. I would spend long days walking along the beach, along the edge separating the sea and land. In a strange oblivion, I stopped differentiating where the sky ends and the sea begins, where is up and where is down. The second time I felt the same thing was when I was in Eric Bulatov’s studio and I saw for the first time his finished work ‘I’m going!,’ which at the time seemed to me to be done with the same feeling that I have tried to talk about briefly here.



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1990Megan BartonComment