The Strange Museum


YEAR: 2005



Not preserved as an installation.

Paintings in the Collection of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov and in private collections in Italy and Switzerland.


See CRP, vol. 2, nos. 399–401, pp. 116–120.


Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan, Italy
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Strange Museum, October 7 to December 17, 2005.


The gallery is transformed to resemble a “classic” one that is slightly provincial, that is, an old-fashioned museum. In it there are three halls, a suite with one hall after another. The walls are painted a warm gray color. At the top of the walls are gold cornices (23 cm in width), and the lower part of the walls is painted a dark brown color to a height of 90 cm. There are three paintings on pedestals in the center of the gallery, one after another; there is a transparent Plexiglas case on each one.

Each painting can and should be viewed from both sides: on one side it appears to be a “realistic” image but with a “mystery” of some sort, some strange detail; the “solution” or explanation that is no less “strange” can be found on the other side where the stretcher is. A painting “with a light inside of it” hangs at the end of the museum facing the entrance. Semi-darkness reigns inside the gallery; only museum lights from opposite directions (from the corners of the ceiling and the walls) illuminate the two sides of the paintings.



2005Megan BartonComment