Skip to content

Pavel Pepperstein & Ilya Kabakov
How to meet an angel
3 October – 28 October 2000

27 Heddon Street London W1B 4BJ

This exhibition shows two basic views on such a basic matter as the one of angels.

Kabakov is permanently reconstructing the reality, which (he thinks) is the reality of hell. It’s full of unhappy memories, humiliation and unrealized wishes of communal flat, of Soviet Union – both are metaphors of the Past, of frustration, of trauma, which is deep and fresh forever, as an ocean. This hell is anyway a source, from where a subtle paradise is growing. And this paradise in Kabakov’s world has names: the West, the Present, Art – Institutions. So, an angel in this world is always an agent (angel and agent sound similar) – it can be an agent of the present in the past, an agent of the West in the East, an agent of Art in Non- Reality. In this sense, he represents a passionate and permanent wish to meet an angel, to be an angel…

For long time already, he has met angels everyday, and he is an angel himself, but in the deep of his soul there is still a reservoir of unbelief and self- irony, that he still sometimes thinks that angels don’t exist, that the West is just a happy dream, which will not last long time, that the Present is just a transparent shadow of the Past.

I belong to another generation and (doesn’t matter if I want it or not) I am a microscopical part of the world, where omnipresent mass-culture is slightly smashing the border between East and West, between “Hell” and “Paradise”. Hell today is full of angels, they are not rare, they are not agents anymore, but just tourists; they are passing by in big groups, or even they live in Hell, because they think it’s more amusing there.
Paradise as well is full of demons and devils.

Traditionally, angels were happy, but sexless. Now if one wants really to be an angel, she or he has to be a sexy angel, because the innocence is not anymore a treasure of paradise. Remembering William Blacke, it’s possible to say that the marriage between Hell and Paradise has happened. Angel’s faces are childish, because the children in the past were models of angelism, but they already want to template and be templated. On my pictures, angels with their children eyes and slight touch of fashion aesthetic on their lips are looking into the hell of the Past, the Present and the Future. They are looking into the Hell without fear and condemn, but with the wish to play and enjoy all of this.