August 20, 1968


with Emilia Kabakov

YEAR: 2000



Collection of M HKA – Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp.


Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Quartett – August 1968 September 2000: Baldessari, Kabakov, Kosuth, Pistoletto, September 9 to November 12, 2000

Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria
Ilya Kabakov, March 18 to May 13, 2001

Galerie Clara Maria Sels, Düsseldorf, Germany
Ilya Kabakov, June 23 to August 4, 2001

Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl, Marl, Germany
Ausgestellt /Vorgestellt VI: Ilya Kabakov für Christian Tomaszewski (Exhibited / Presented VI: Ilya Kabakov for Christian Tomaszewski), March 9 to May 5, 2002

Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (Museum of Contemporay Art Antwerp), Antwerp, Belgium
Collectiepresentatie XXI (Presentation of the Collection XXI), M HKA – December 1, 2007 to February 10, 2008

Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (Museum of Contemporay Art Antwerp), Antwerp, Belgium
Het Karakter van een Collection / The Collection as a Character, June 7 to October 6, 2013


August 20, 1968, was the day that Soviet tanks entered Prague, at that very moment when the Soviet regime sensed a threat to its very existence as a result of the democratic reforms in Czechoslovakia.

The installation consists of three elements:

  1. The outer ring—the unbelievable reaction of the world press to this event.

  2. The inner ring—what I was working on at the time in my studio—the ordinary work, and in essence, there was no reaction whatsoever to this event.

  3. The circus inside the installation— its center—is a unique metaphor of Soviet society and each Soviet person individually—total passivity and lack of reaction, the absence of a response to what is going on outside of the closed world. Hence, everything together forms a sort of complex comprised of various spaces: the external space consisting of the surrounding world, the world of politics and social cataclysms; the middle space—the world of the everyday and commonplace affairs of the artist; and the middle—the world of imagination and naïve mythology that is very far away in essence and place from the world of social reality and everyday concerns.



2000Megan BartonComment