Victory over the Everyday_Everyday's Victory
Exhibition booklet not near at hand? Here you find the text linked to this theme.
Daily life in a communal apartment (kommunalka) was not easy during the Soviet era. Depending on your status in the party, you were assigned a living space together with one to five other families. For each family this meant there was one room to live, eat and sleep in. The other amenities in the apartment had to be shared: the corridor, the telephone, the toilet, the shower and the kitchen. Anyone who has ever shared a house with other people knows that the common use of living space provides plenty of material for conflicts. Who cleans the toilet? Who does the washing up? The shared use of kitchens was the stimulus for Ilya Kabakov to create a series of works in the 1980s in which the kitchen equipment has central place: a frying pan, a colander, and a grater. The question: “Whose is this?” appears in the top left-hand corner of each work. At that time, this was actually a strange question because there was an attempt to abolish private possessions in the Soviet Union. In fact, the frying pan had to belong to everyone, just as everything else belonged to everyone. But once that pan has been left dirty on the common draining board for a week and the mould starts to grow in it, the question of ownership becomes quite urgent. Furthermore, this ownership also has consequences. The right-hand corner of every work in this series shows the answer of one of the users of the kitchen. One person doesn’t know whose frying pan it is. Another thinks that the frying pan belongs to Andrei Pavlovitsj. But no one ever says: “This is mine”.
The clear interiors and simple furniture which Lissitzky designed at the beginning of the century for a hopeful shared future is in marked contrast with the widespread avoidance of personal responsibility and the countless private miseries resulting from this exhibited by Kabakov.
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