The Garden / In the Corner





The artist

Not preserved as installation

Paintings, boards and commentaries: Collection Ludwig, Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen.


Paris, Galerie de France
Ilya Kabakov. Que sont ces petits hommes? 19 Jan 1989 — 4 Mar 1989


The installation consists of two paintings called The Garden and In the Corner (12 White Little Old Men Over a Plate). Both paintings, each 260 x 380 cm, stand on the floor leaning up against the wall. In front of them are a lot of old boards. On some of them there are ‘white little old men’ (see the entry for the installation Trousers in the Corner). To the side of each painting stands an ‘explanation board’ with the viewers’ comments hanging on them.

The Painting The Garden

Description of the Painting

The painting The Garden was made from two boards put together covered with white shiny enamel. The outlines of a garden drawn in pale blue paint are barely discernible on the painting, visible only at a very short distance. From a distance, the only thing that can be seen in the painting are chaotically scattered bright green spots, blotches of various shapes. The dimensions of the painting are 380 x 260 cm. It was made in 1979.

Handwritten texts on large sheets under glass hang in a single row at small intervals along the perimeter of the two opposite walls, as well as on the wall with the entrance door. There are approximately 60 of them. These texts represent the utterances, some of the commentaries, of visitors who have come to the exhibit to see this solitary painting. Some of them actually do pertain to the painting, others are simply personal utterances about private matters that do not have anything at all to do with the exhibit or the painting, but that could have been uttered here in this place, as always happens at such exhibits. On the whole, it seems, this is polyphonic noise in space, only it has been externalized, ‘hung’ on the walls. Amidst all kinds of texts there are some texts of ‘attentive’ people. The thing is that they ‘see’ something on the painting, and therefore they pay attention to elements of the painting that from a normal distance, the distance from which a painting is usually viewed, cannot be seen. For in addition to the clearly visible elements on the painting, there are also those that are not easily discernible. It is to these that the following utterances refer, and most of all to the subtle blue outline of the garden that is drawn on the whiteboard.



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1989Megan BartonComment