The Children’s Hospital, the first exhibition in Ireland by the distinguished Russian installation artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, sees the Museum’s East Wing transformed into a children’s hospital ward. It is the latest in a number of installations in leading international museums in which the artists have translated their experiences of Soviet Life into a sardonic, but often beguiling, metaphor for the human condition.
Using the existing gallery structure of eight rooms, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov have created individual wards, each with a hospital bed, chair and night table. In each room there is also a mechanical model theatre telling a series of stories through words, music and the movement of puppets. The stories, however, have no real ending and trail off enigmatically, reflecting the uncertain world in which they are set.
Born in the USSR in 1933, Ilya Kabakov is one of the most compelling and influential artists to have emerged from the former Soviet Union. Since his arrival in the West in 1987 he has become a leading figure creating installations in galleries and in the public domain.