Ilya Kabakov is an illustrator and conceptual artist known for his drawings, fictional memoirs, and installations that evoke the visual culture of Soviet Russia. Although he worked for years as an official illustrator of Soviet children's books, in the early 1950s Kabakov began to create his first dissident artworks, which he called "drawings for myself." He rose to prominence in the 1970s when he became a leading member of the artistic movement known as Soviet Nonconformist Art, or Moscow Conceptualism.
After leaving the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, Kabakov's satirical drawings developed into his signature "total installations"—all-encompassing environments accompanied by tragicomic narrative texts. Made in collaboration with his wife Emilia Kabakov, these nostalgic installations often incorporate forgotten elements of Soviet life, such as social realist propaganda, worn-out kitchen items, and communal living arrangements. The Kabakovs' work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and in the Whitney Biennial. In 1993 the duo represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennale.