The new sculpture in 2017 is The Ball by Ilya Kabakov.
After six decades as an active artist, first in the former Soviet Union and, secondly, on Long Island in the US, Ilya Kabakov has made his mark as a central conceptual artist with his installations and paintings. Through the art, Kabakov observes and reflects upon the human reality, often based on his memories of the old Soviet Union, or other utopian and man-made projects. A common feature of these political or economic declining systems is a strong human vision, capability and conviction. Like the Greek king, Sisyphus, whom for his misdeeds, as well as his personal convictions, was sentenced to daily rolling the same rock up a hill for all eternity.
While the Greek myth gives a lesson and a morality, and Kabakov's work therefore could allude to human dissatisfaction and the monotony of everyday life, the artist’s nod to the story is perceived more as a reflection of the human urge to explore, to create, to conquer, and to reach the top. Here, Sisyphus is not alone, but aided by others through unity and teamwork. Thus, the artist emphasizes the importance of the collective and the humane, rather than the individual, as one strives to keep on top of life mountain.
The installation, with its location in the midst of nature, can also be seen as a commentary on man's relationship with nature. Man has always sought to control and conquer the forces of nature, but time and time again nature prevails. Facing south, it is as if the ball becomes a symbol of the sun in its orbit from east to west, where we either help it up or try to hold it back on its way down.
The sculpture is a gift from Christen Sveaas.
Photo: The Ball, Ilya Kabakov, 2017. Photographer: Photo: Frédéric Boudin