From Action to Performative Sculpture
Mini-retrospective exhibition of Kulikovska's performative practice at Shcherbenko Art Centre. Kyiv, Ukraine, 2020
"From Action to Performative Sculpture" is a mini-retrospective project of Maria Kulikovska's performative practice. The show selectively presents the most significant projects and works of the artist made in this medium. It is also an analysis of previous performances that are always created on the basis of performative sculpture and vice versa – the sculpture is created through a performative process and is subject to interaction with the environment in the future.
The cross-cutting line of the artist's work has always been an issue of political conflict in her homeland. It is also a research of territorial borders and then individual boundaries of one's own physical body through construction and destruction of its casts; the position of women in this conflict and society in general. Therefore, the exhibition invites the viewer to move through the constructed space of actions and sculptural series, their video and photo documentation, artifacts, and sketches to further embodied ideas. All these pre and post-documentary fragments of artists' practice will become points of intersection and will make it possible to build the connection of gradual and integral Maria Kulikovska's artistic expression.
The exposition narrative begins with video documentation of creation of the sculptural series "Army of Clones" in 2010. These sculptures were shot by militants in the occupied territories four years later. Then, the thematic blocks present a number of actions that fully or partially respond to these events and refer to other thematic points of practice.
As the artist herself comments on this exhibition: "It is a form of presentation of all the work I did and an attempt to analyze whether it has results or society needs it. Hasn't it turned into a marginal statement that is now unpleasant or stigmatized? This exhibition is also a manifestation of the political performance existence in Ukraine that is often ignored by the authorities due to the lack of established cultural diplomacy and politics".
Despite the fact that all Maria Kulikovska's performances refer to the events in her homeland, the artist often needed to conduct them using another platform to express her message freely. That is why most of the performances shown in this exhibition were made abroad. The reaction to all these works in Ukraine is an open question. So, the show is also a performative gesture and sometimes even a risk because Maria is always responsible for the safety of relatives who live in the currently occupied territories.