The book has always played a pivotal role in the work of Ilya Kabakov. Initially successful as an illustrator of children’s books in the Soviet Union, the book was the impetus for his visual artistic activity. The book has remained Kabakov’s constant companion. On the one hand, it is used to present new projects. On the other, it is the medium used to document these projects once they have been realised. The book accompanies Kabakov’s visual work but that is not its only purpose, it has always also been crucial in terms of the visual art itself. As always with Kabakov, there is no distinction between artistic practice and discourse. This applies also to this catalogue raisonné, which turns out to be a paradoxical construction – it is both an academic work and an artist’s book and therefore a component of any work that he creates. It is both part and whole.