Ilya Kabakov, Box with Garbage. 1986. Mixed Media. Shown in Moscow studio.
I spent twenty-plus years uninterruptedly in the attic in my studio, and I don’t remember regularly taking out paper garbage (‘household’ scraps I, of course, threw away), and it accumulated over the years. It gave me great pleasure to examine and sort through each paper again and again, especially those that had really become old. Gradually I began to glue and sew together these old papers into special folders, not because I wanted to preserve them in some sort of professional sense-there was nothing at all practical in them either then or now-but rather because I gradually began to see in this an image of a unique psychological personage who cherishes each paper, not discarding any paper trash from the past; that’s how the hero ‘The Garbage Man' came to be.
Amei Wallach, Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996) 171.
See also Svetlana Boym’s The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2004).
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