How to Meet an Angel


with Emilia Kabakov

YEAR: 2003



Version 1 (Wood, Fiberglass, Paint)

Private ownership.

Version 2 (Metal, Fiberglass, Paint)

Collection of Mentrum Clinic, Amsterdam.

Version 3 (Wood, Fiberglass)

Collection of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.


The large-scale model, How to Meet an Angel, is part of the installation The Strange City. See CRI, vol. 3, no. 193, pp. 366–387.

The large-scale model, How to Meet an Angel, is part of the exhibition Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future, Tate Modern, London, October 18, 2017, to January 28, 2018.


Version 1 (Wood, Fiberglass, Paint)

Park of Villa Böckel, Rödinghausen, Bielefeld, Germany
Permanent installation since June 18, 2003 (there referred to as Begegne Deinem Engel)

Version 2 (Metal, Fiberglass, Paint)

On the façade of Mentrum Clinic, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Permanent installation since September 26, 2009

Version 3 (Wood, Fiberglass)

Project of the State of Upper Austria, OÖ Kulturquartier, Linz
Höhenrausch 2016: Andere Engel (High Altitude Euphoria 2016: Other Angels), May 21 to October 16, 2016


The installation represents a landscape with a river, fields, and forest, with an intricately constructed ladder arising upward toward the sky in the middle of it. A figure in sports clothing with a backpack on his shoulders is visible at the end of this ladder. The hands of the figure are raised upward as though requesting urgent help. From above, the figure of an angel is dangling toward these hands. The entire landscape together with the ladder and the angel is arranged in a transparent plastic cube and fastened to a four-legged table. A plaque with a text revealing the content of the installation is on the front side of the table:

“An encounter with your angel in real life appears to be virtually impossible. But that is far from the truth. All that is necessary is to recall that this encounter can take place in extreme circumstances, and especially at critical moments in a person’s life. And, it is within our powers to create the situation for such an encounter.

On a large empty space, best of all in a distant rural place, the erection of a very tall ladder vertically upward is begun. The ladder should reach a height of 1100 meters. Today’s materials (light alloys) permit the creation of a structure with the necessary durability and stability. A person who has resolved to ascend to the top of the ladder should be prepared to spend more than 2 days to do so. However, once he is near the top he finds himself high above the clouds, alone within conditions of wind and inclement weather; he thus creates—it will absolutely arise—that crisis moment when, upon the request for urgent help, the appearance of an angel will turn out to be inevitable.”



2003Megan BartonComment