«Carpe Diem» is a series of five life-sized figures of Kulikovska's body cast from epoxy resin. All sculptures from the series are independent artworks. They were created with the addition of various symbolic materials: flowers, chains, feathers, seashells, keys and bones.
The expression carpe diem is interpreted as a call to live with pleasure every day, without delaying the possibility of a full life to an uncertain future. Carpe diem should not be interpreted as being close to another common expression - memento mori (remember about death). These two terms represent opposing worldviews: at the core of carpe diem lies the idea of a carefree attitude to life, but at the core of memento mori - the idea of the humility of existence.
In this sculpture series, the artist continues to criticize the patriarchal constructs of government and society. The main instrument, material and method of Kulikovska is her own body. The series «Carpe Diem» is also a conceptual long-term experiment of the artist with the vanitas motif, which defines human life as something unprotected and ephemeral. In the vanitas tradition, the symbolic elements were flowers, especially roses, which are a sign of fall, carnal love, lust and sexual act. However, in this sculptural series Maria Kulikovska places all these full symbolism objects under the skin of «own» sculptural body. The figures from the series «Carpe Diem», unlike their predecessors, are created from epoxy resin, and the «embedded» inside flowers, chains, feathers, seashells, keys and bones have given sculptures special artistic symbolism and metaphor.
«Carpe Diem» is a discussion about physicality, about accepting oneself, about norms and morals in society. Every time after the show in public space the «clones» of Kulikovska's body, the real body of the artist immediately becomes the subject, which is trying to be independent and free. That is why Maria Kulikovska calls on everyone to live freely and to make lives extraordinary and incredible, making their own decisions rather than following the manipulations of others, remembering that life is fleeting and fragile.
The symbolism of the «Carpe Diem» series is close to artworks of American artists Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois. In 1980, Kiki Smith researched human anatomy and reflected body vulnerability using tissue, beeswax, beads, and paper. On the other hand, the chains that break through from the soap shell of Maria Kulikovska correspond to a series of installations by Louise Bourgeois called «Cells», in which the American artist metaphorically closed emotional, physical, psychological - her own pain. «Carpe Diem» by Maria Kulikovska is metaphorically closed in a resin base of reflections of the artist, her sense of own body, her own state, her presence.
During 2018, the performative sculptures from the series «Carpe Diem» were exhibited at various exhibitions and events, among «Permanent Revolution - Ukrainian Art Today», which was the exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian art at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest; «Ukraine in Fashion», which was opened on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Vogue UA. Since February 2021, the figure 1/5 and figure 3/5 have been in the private collection of Natalia Lysenko in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
In 2021, the MKUV.studio's sculptures, including figure 5/5 from the series «Carpe Diem», were presented in the Ukrainian Pavilion of NordArt 2021, where Maria Kulikovska became one of five favorite artists of The Public Choice Award.