A Meeting / Vstrecha

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov Jan Fabre


Performance, 00:35:00.

New York, roof & basement of Ilya Kabakov


In the film made in Ilya Kabakov’s home in New York the two artists share the secret of art, as a fly and a beetle. They discuss, each in their own language, the different dimensions of being an artist in their own countries.


'Tonight was the world premier of the performance film
'A Meeting / Vstrecha' that I made together with Ilya Kabakov.
It was a splendid language mix-up for a sell-out
Tokyo National Opera House.
An Act of Flemish-Russian poetic resistance
(we had both refused to speak English).
The public debate after the screening turned into a language
performance by a Russian fly and a Flemish scarab.
The Japanese audience were given simultaneouss translations
and I think they believed that I understood Russian
and Ilya Flemish.
(We had applied the same principle to the film,
just a matter of writing out a scenario).
The looks of wonder.
The faces full of admiration.
The 'oooshs' of credence and the 'ai-es' (yesses) of incredulity
from the Japanese art audience were so funny to see and hear
that during the public debate Ilya and I regularly started
snorting because we couldn't keep ourselves from laughing.
It was a comical and instructive evening.
Thanks to the linguistic consilience of the Flemish scarab
and the Russian fly who both unwittingly sounded ironical
in face of Japanese seriousness.'

(Jan Fabre, Tokyo, 28 March 1997)


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