The Fallen Angel


with Emilia Kabakov

YEAR: 2002



Version 1 (Figure with straight wing)

Collection of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

Version 2 (Figure with broken wing)

Collection of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov


See CRB, no. 126, pp. 494–497


Version 1 (Figure with straight wing)

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
現代美術への視点連続と侵犯 / A Perspective on Contemporary Art: Continuity / Transgression, 東京国立近代美術館 / October 29 to December 23, 2002

The National Museum of Art, Osaka,Japan
January 16 to March 23, 2003

The Parrish Art Museum, Long Island, NY, United States
North Fork / South Fork: East End Art Now, Part II Collection of the Artists, July 26 to September 8, 2004

National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
The Grand Promenade, pedestrian walkways Dionysiou Areopagitou – Apostolou Pavlou – Ermou, Athens (organization: EMΣT – Εθνικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης), July 17 to September 29, 2006

Bad Homburg, Frankfurt Rhein-Main, and Frankfurt Airport, Germany
Blickachsen 9: Skulpturen in Bad Homburg und Frankfurt Rhein-Main (Lines of Sight 9: Sculptures in Bad Homburg and Frankfurt Rhein-Main).The Squaire, Frankfurt Airport (organization: in collaboration with Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France), May 26 to October 6, 2013

The Model, Sligo, Republic of Ireland
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Angelology, October 23, 2010, to January 23, 2011

Galeria Rondo Sztuki, Katowice, Poland
Ilya & Emilia Kabakov: Angelology, (organization: in collaboration with the Festival Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris 2011), November 25, 2011, to January 5, 2012

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso (Former College of San Ildefonso), Mexico City, Mexico
Angelología: utopia y ángeles (Angelology: Utopia and Angels), (organization: in collaboration with Nina Menocal), August 28 to January 11, 2015

Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
伊利亚和艾米莉亚•卡巴科夫:理想之城 / Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Dream City, 上海当代艺术博物馆, August 7 to December 6, 2015.

Version 2 (Figure with broken wing)

Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy
Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, May 23 to August 29, 2009.

MAMM – МУЛЬТИМЕДИА АРТ МУЗЕЙ, МОСКВА / Multimedia Art Museum Moscow, Russia
Utopiya i real’nost’? El Lissitzky, Il’ya i Emiliya Kabakov (Utopia and Reality? El Lissitzky, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov), (organization: Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, in collaboration with Multimedia Art Museum Moscow and Kunsthaus Graz), September 17 to November 17, 2013

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria
El Lissitzky – Ilya und Emilia Kabakov: Utopie und Realität (El Lissitzky – Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Utopia and Reality), February 7 to May 11, 2014

Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, Pantin, France
Space Age, September 27, 2015 to January 12, 2016

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


The wooden fence should be built all around the perimeter of the “hole”—the space downstairs located near the entrance. The height of the fence is 2.5 meters (8’3”). This is the kind of fence usually used at construction sites. The fence has to be placed directly on the cement floor of the exhibition space. Built from fresh wood, unpainted, this fence will present a startling contrast to the glass and cement and will “foist itself” upon people sitting at the café; it practically “sticks out” in front of them. Two ladders are also visible from the café. They are made from the same kind of wood as the fence, they have railings, and for some reason they are placed next to the fence, so as to invite some curious people to come, climb on the ladder and to look at what is “behind the fence,” and what’s more, there is a small platform at the top of the ladder for the comfort of those who have ventured up the ladder. The door from the café in the direction of the fence is always open, and people from the café and those who are going down to the lower floor of the museum will wind up as though they are exiting onto the “street” and they will climb up to these platforms.

When the viewer finally reaches the top of the platform and looks down, he sees the center of this enclosed space, and right on the ground, or more precisely, right on the cement floor of the “hole” is a lying figure. This figure will look strange and unusual to the viewer: it is twice as large as a human being, it is lying face up, on its back. The entire body is draped with a cover, one similar to those used by the police. From under the material (cover), we can see only two gigantic legs with bare feet. But the strangest, most unusual thing about this figure are two huge white wings on her side: the left one, half broken, is lying on the ground, the right is lifted up in almost a vertical position as if trying to fly for the last time.

This vision cannot go unnoticed by the viewer’s imagination. Who is this creature? In human form, with the wings behind its back? Without any doubts, it is dead, broken, but why did it fall and exactly here, in the center of Manhattan, between skyscrapers and cars? And how did it end up on the museum territory?

Everything will be a mystery to the viewer, his imagination will start searching for an answer—but there are a lot of explanations. One of them could be that the appearance of such a creature is dangerous for the people or the creature itself has to be protected—that’s why the fence is built. The provocation of such an installation is reinforced by the announcement, which is placed on the door, leading to the fence, the text of which makes the whole thing even more intricate. The announcement is done as a newspaper clipping with the photograph of the figure.


On the evening of June 24, two days before the opening of the Whitney Biennial, in the hole under the bridge, leading to the entrance to the Whitney Museum, police discovered the figure of a man, who had probably fallen down from a very big height. This figure is astonishing by its size. The height is 12’10”; the size of the foot is 1’10”. Behind the back this unusual creature has two white wings, but not from feathers. They are from an unknown, so far, very thin and strange substance. One of those wings was broken during the fall.

Police couldn’t answer when and how this incident happened; some of the witnesses, who were close to the site, heard only a thin and high sound, and people passing by in the cars say that similar incidents of unexplained falls started to happen more often at the end of our century. A sudden “landing” of a “piece of sky” happened last year in Geneva during the celebration of 50 years of the United Nations Organization. The motives and circumstances of this incident still are unknown. We only can hope that this time the investigation will be more successful and the “mystery” of this “mysterious fall” will be solved.



2002Megan BartonComment