This unauthorized performance was held on the stairs of the Hermitage during the opening of Manifesta'10 biennial. St. Petersburg, Russia, 1 July of 2014.
254 is Maria Kulikovska's number as a registered refugee from the occupied Crimea since 2014.
On July 1, 2014, the artist held an unauthorized performance during the opening of the biennale of contemporary art Manifesta'10, which took place in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia. At that time, the artist was laying on the stairs of the museum in the wounded soldier position, covered by the Ukrainian flag. The performance ended with the short-term arrest of Maria Kulikovska, as a result of which the Ukrainian artist was added to the list of banned artists in Russia.
«254» is a long-term art project of Maria Kulikovska, in which were created two sculptures-molds of the artist's body in the lying-down position. In 2018, the artist created a series of silkscreen prints on the basis of photographic documentation of this action.
The war. The war's duration and consequences. The destructive inhumane nature of war. The war is one of the main issues of Maria Kulikovska's creativity. Inability to come back and to lead artistic activity in native Kerch town was plunged into the artist's skin, it made hundreds of scars. It still makes the senses of Kulikovska's identity bleed. The lack of "alive" place on the artist's body-memory became one of the reasons for the reaction and creation of the artistic actions and performative sculptures. For the artist, they are the method of react, fight, heal, exempt, identify, return.