Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here Screen 8 articles

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here


Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here Poster
  • It’s immensely frustrating, because around the 50-minute mark, when Kabakov’s Soviet life begins to be described in detail, and the art is shown more fully, it’s clear that this is a fascinating subject. The couple’s installations give vivid glimpses of their lives and intellect; this digressive, poorly organized film does so only sporadically.

  • As Soviet-born American immigrants they have extremely personal and illuminating perspectives on Russian society and culture. Despite some muddled passages early on, Wallach manages to gather her subjects’ many facets into a cohesive narrative about conflicted nostalgia and the enduring neuroses of having grown up in the USSR.

  • Though she pans across countless visually arresting artworks—like hundreds of plastic houseflies hung in the shape of a church cupola—there’s little art to Wallach’s camerawork or pacing. Still, Ilya and Emilia are fascinating enough to merit sitting through Enter Here’s meanderings.

  • It’s all a way of folding us into the many layers of the Kabakovs’ projects, illuminated by the artists’ comments about their lives and the history they have lived through. The orchestration wobbles now and again, but Ms. Wallach has fashioned a multifaceted, informative portrait conveying the emotional urgency of the Kabakovs’ work.

  • Wallach cuts to Emilia conducting business on a cell phone. Ilya is a somewhat inscrutable figure whose artwork, with its immersive environments made of allusive personal references and partial narratives, depicts the history and historical forces that made him who he is. Blunt or reductive as moments like the above might be, Wallach goes for psychodrama...

  • Amei Wallach's Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here is less a documentary than a study of the ways we react to tragedy, to trauma, to past suffering--in Kabakov's case, the trauma was the time he spent living under Soviet rule, from 1933 to 1987. And yet, miraculously, these works never seem overburdened by the past behind them: they are always guided by the urge to narrate, to tell a story.

  • No longer silent but still the lesser talker between them, Ilya is marvelously fluent in spatial forms: The climax of ENTER HERE finds an old Moscow garage transformed into a maze-like reckoning space, history and art made inextricable.

  • ...This much-interlocked material could result in a shapeless pileup, or worse, a watered-down show-and-tell. But Wallach and Kobland (himself an accomplished “personal” filmmaker and a red-diaper baby) have made a graceful, enormously moving portrait of a complicated artist and an artistic collaboration. Like the Kabakovs’ installations, it resists its own frame in time and space and invites you to return once and again.