“How to Meet An Angel,” a one-minute looped animation by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, widely regarded as the most important Russian artists to have emerged in the late 20th century, will be projected on the south facade of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill on Saturday evening from 8:30 to 10:30.
The Kabakovs’ work consists of large-scale environments and installations that are deeply rooted in the history and culture of the Soviet Union, where they both came of age, while at the same time pulsing with universal meaning.
The theme of “How to Meet an Angel” is a recurrent one in their work. On the occasion of a retrospective last year at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, they constructed a sculpture with the same title that consisted of a tall metal ladder with a male figure at the top. “This romantic scene presents a theme that is recurrent in the duo’s work: a small human creature trying to break away from their frail and predictable world,” according to the museum.
Their initial concept called for a 3,600-foot ladder to be erected in a rural location. “A person who has resolved to ascend to the top of the ladder should be prepared to spend more than two days to do so,” according to the artists. Once near the top, alone with the wind and weather, he will reach a crisis moment when, “upon the request for urgent help, the appearance of an angel will turn out to be inevitable.”
The animation came about two years ago, when the Kabakovs, who live in Mattituck, were invited to present an exhibition of their architectural projects, drawings, and models at the Tchoban Foundation—Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin. The animation they created from the original drawings of the sculpture was projected on that museum’s facade.
Saturday's projection will be visible from Montauk Highway, with limited access for guests to park and watch from the Parrish grounds. The rain date is Sunday, same time.