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Maria Kulikovska

Originally, kulikovska trained as an architect but moved to art, sculptures and performance pieces.

Starting to express her ideas in the classic forms of fine art with her first exhibitions in 2003, throughout her artistic life she has moved to a much more spontaneous and contemporary analytical expressions. The nucleus of Maria Kulikovska’s work is her own body, as a material for expressing a common reality about the Body, its present form, transformation and decay. Or putting her self in the situation of a voice, acting out theatrically explosive performances, “Untitled” (in Bottega gallery) to sculpture parks of heavy artwork.

The two projects, “Army of clones”, 2010 (20st full size body sculptures) and its continuum in “Homo Bula”, 2012 (sensual full body sculpture made from natural soap). Both of these sculpture projects where destroyed by occupation forces in Izolyatsia, Donetsk (summer 2014), theses projects have after the event continued as sensual yet subtle expression decoding our most violent history against the human, in several exhibitions in Europe.

Through her engagement in the study in National Academia of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kiev 2013 in which she achieved a master diploma in fine arts and architecture, her idea of her body transformed into architectural structures made from natural materials, with great importance to our civilization. Life begins with milk, so Maria made a crumbling house from brick made by sugar and milk, “Sweet/ss (Swiss) Life” in Uster, Switzerland, 2012. Deconstructing and reconstructing the foundation of the architectural body, in an exhibition 2013, she sculptures pillars. Pillars made form salt, one of our founding civilizations most commodities and indicator of wealth, the pillars of our economy. Civilizations was built upon salt, salt pillars, that Maria later destroy with sledge hammer, as so many pillar been destroyed through out history by the hand of man.

The political reality of Ukraine led Maria to seek solidarity in Europe, where she meets Jacqueline Shabo in an art exchange. The walls created by west Europe and love, spurred an idea in her mind of a silent, slow growing performance that has a beginning but no end, by marriage by law to Jacqueline Shabo (Swedish artist) and becoming the first woman to be in a same sex marriage in Ukraine. A marriage and art projects that by life itself deconstruct perceptions of reality, becoming in the eyes of the beholder, individual preconceptions, fears, struggles, knowing or not knowing of the reality behind the marriage, “Bodies and Borders”, 2014. This performance was not more than a couple of days old, when life got turned upside down by the invasion and later annexation of the area of Crimea, where she was born.

The pain of the dark situation that she and her family were living affects the expression of her art. The in your face expressive ness became more radical but gentile and subtle in it beauty. Maria wrote an open letter, letting Manifesta Biennale in St. Petersburg know that she would not accept the invitation to participate in the pending biennale, weeks after this letter the process creation of a new sculpture started, the before naked in your face body sculptures became covered, in the Action performance “254” (254 is the nr that Maria got when Ukraine had to give her refugee status because of her birth region was no longer part of Ukraine). On the marmor steps of Manifesta main hall in Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Maria lay covered under the Ukraine Flag for 45 minutes before police came. This Performance later became a Sculpture with the same name, and was made and exhibited in Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw Poland, 2014.

Someone said why do you create these ugly bodies, they are fat and imperfect, they are casts of her own body and thus the most realistic form of a woman.

In line with her ongoing feministic performance with “Body and Boarders” and her experience of lecturing and teaching everything from children, students to open sculpture workshops and lectures. In 2015 Maria again started to teach sculpture and inspire other to used there voice through art, and founded the art collective “Flowers of Democracy” with the purpose of de mystifying the fear of female body and celebrating the women’s important role, made invisible part of democracy, and in fight for democracy. The collective produced hundreds of plaster vaginas (Flowers) that where exposed in public group actions in several Ukrainian cities and created short term public sculpture park, where their flowers of democracy could be seen. Many reactions in all direction created a strong understanding of the need for more of actions like these, and at the time this is being written new action of flowers of democracy are being planed.

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