Miami Art Fairs: Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

On Saturday in Miami, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov announced the first North American version of their Ship of Tolerance project, taking place in March of 2011 in Florida. The collaborative couple, who currently live and work in Long Island, New York, invite local schoolchildren to contribute drawings that are then sewn together in the formation of a ship’s sail. The seaworthy vessels are at once powerful and poignant. Previous iterations of the project have been completed in Siwa, Egypt; Venice, Italy; and most recently in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Crafted out of bamboo, wood, and cotton, the designs of the vessels have been guided by an ancient aesthetic which “performs and embodies a message of universal goodwill, friendship and hope,”(as stated in a publication by Wolfgang Roth & Partners Fine Art). The Floridian ship is scheduled to launch in the waters of Miami next spring.

Currently on view at Wolfgang Roth in downtown Miami is Someone Under The Carpet, an exhibition of previous works by the Kabakovs, along with textual and video documentation of past projects. In the second floor gallery, the viewer encounters what appears to be a human figure trapped beneath an expanse of carpeting. The trapped figure moves subtly, in a non-threatening but somewhat eerie manner. Adjacent to this installation are simple tables with the artists’ notes and drawings, catalogues of the Kabakovs’ prior works. The library-like settings offer an opportunity for the visitor to become more familiar with the vast oeuvre of this distinguished pair.

Someone Under The Carpet, which opened on December 1st during Art Basel Miami Beach, will act as the initial phase of Miami’s Ship of Tolerance, generating greater awareness of the ongoing project. The exhibition will remain on view until January 15th, 2011.