Ilya Kabakov created School No.6 in 1993 as a gift to the Chinati Foundation. The work occupies an entire building that is subdivided into rooms reminiscent of an abandoned schoolhouse from the former Soviet Union. The spaces are filled with faded posters, flags, and emblems; everything is broken, boarded-up, and neglected. Bookcases and desks with Russian notebooks and memorabilia scattered throughout the disordered classrooms tell an elliptical story about another place and time. The walls are painted an institutional green, which is peeling. In the center of the building is a courtyard overgrown with grass and weeds. In faded red, glass-enclosed vitrines, Kabakov's poetic writing recounts the stories and recollections of the students' past experience in the school.
Ilya Kabakov was born in 1933 in Dniepropetrovsk, Russia and currently lives on the North Fork of Long Island with his wife and partner Emilia. Major exhibitions include:The Incident in the Museum and other Installations (with Emilia Kabakov), State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2004); Retrospective, Kunstmuseum, Bern (1999); The Treatment with Memories, Hamburger Banhoff, Hamburg and Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Berlin; The Palace of Projects (with Emilia Kabakov), organized by Artangel, London and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (all 1998); Whitney Biennial, Venice Biennale (1997); 23rd Sao Paolo Bienal; Retrospective: De Lesesaal (The Reading Room), Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (1996); C'est ici que nous vivons (We Are Living Here), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1995).