Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, The Happiest Man (****) and Two Mountains (**)

Furnished with red seats and a towering projector screen, the space has been transformed into a Soviet era cinema, wherein you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the brainwashing effects of Stalinist propaganda films from the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Flush-cheeked, flaxen-haired young women dance and sing in unison amidst shining fields of wheat; bales are rolled; hay is forked. Everyone labours in harmony with robustness and joy. This technicolour vision of happiness is surreal and fascinating.

These films were made during the most violent years of Stalinist rule, when Socialist Realism was sanctioned by the state and other art forms were banned. The regime decreed that art should idealize the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Stalin’s own words, the artist should be “an engineer of the human soul.”

The cinema is a new “total installation” by New York based Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. A husband and wife team,

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