This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience
OK

Homo Bulla –
Human as
Soap Bubble

Three soap figures, installed on the territory of Izolyatsia Art Centre in Donetsk. On 9 May of 2014 these sculptures were destroyed by militants of DPR. Donetsk, Ukraine, 2012–2014.

Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Maria Kulikovska, MKUV studio, ballistic soap sculptures, ukrainian art, ukrainian artists, ukrainian sculpture, crimean artists, queer art, feminist artists, contemporary sculptures, contemporary art, contemporary artists, conceptual art, women artists, art studio, architectural studio, casts, army of clones kulikovska, Donetsk kulikovska, Izolyatsia Art Centre, soap sculptures, destroyed art, destroyed sculptures, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
Story
Links
Related
«Homo Bulla – Human as Soap Bubble» is the sculptural triptych of Kulikovska's body, which was installed on the territory of Izolyatsia Art Centre in Donetsk. The sculptures became the shooting target for militants, along with «Army of Clones», and were destroyed on 9 May of 2014.

«Homo Bulla – Human as Soap Bubble» was the beginning of the artist's work with the vanitas tradition. An image of a soap bubble was used by Kulikovska as an analogy to transience of human life. A senselessness of existence displayed in skull images, and nonstop speed of drying of plucking flowers from the still life of the Baroque period Kulikovska has transformed to soap sculptures. The figures-casts transform and are destroyed under the influence of the weather conditions that could eventually wipe them out*.

A few years later, Maria Kulikovska wrote in the master's thesis: «The idea to create the sculpture-copies of my own body from soap or plaster and to exhibit in the public spaces vulnerable from wind, rain, snow, heat, is the revival of the metaphorical image of vanitas tradition: Human as soap bubble – Remember about death. My purpose is to remind myself and other people that the human body is a very fragile and open shell, which can die at any moment. Moreover, I continued my study of how the naked woman's body will be perceived by society. It grows old, deforms, suffers, breaks and dies under the influence of different weather conditions. But the war totally put it off: «the woman» has been taken prisoner and destroyed, the art has become the place of exile, the artists have become the enemies of the people and the society fell off the gup in the gray area between East and West. For the past five years, my art has tried to find and realize itself in a global society. It's looking for an identity, it solves national and language questions, it's looking for a home and asks itself throughout the time: «Who am I?». This instability and my constant search for transformation has always stayed in my artistic practice».

* based on the text from the exhibition «From Action to Performative Sculpture: Maria Kulikovska» at Shcherbenko Art Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2020.
The Latin metaphoric saying of human life being an extremely thin iridescent soap bubble that lives a few minutes and bursts from a mere breath of wind is firstly met in the 1st century BC in the treatise "Res rusticae" by the Roman writer and scientist Márcus Teréntius Várro. By the 16th century the Homo bulla popularized by Erasmus of Rotterdam became an aphorism and takes its place among vanitas – still life paintings and genre scenes to allegorically reveal the perishable nature of human being and transience of life.

Numerous images of children and angels blowing out soap bubbles often intermit with other symbols of vanity of pleasures and inevitability of death: withered flowers and fruits as symbols of ageing; skulls to clearly point out the sorrowful outcome; sea shells being remains of sea creatures that used to be alive; gambling dice, playing cards and chess to symbolize unpredictability and sometimes even absurdity of life game; dying out candles, broken mirrors, cracked tableware or simply empty glasses, which glass drives at fragility of human essence abandoned by its lust for life.

The soap sculptures by Masha Kulikovska continue the many-century vanitas tradition of West European art only changing the degree of metaphorical approximation. The artist forms the sculptures according to her own body forms in order to shift the human fragility talk from the general philosophical context to the personal sphere of the autobiographical project.

The three Kulikovska's soap clones, in spite of the painted vanitas of the centuries passed by, show up the ephemerality of being in the way quite other than metaphorical. The sculptures are purposely scattered around the Isolation territories in the open air to be in the middle of a natural aging environment. Suffering from the sun, rain and the other atmospheric influences the soap substance gets washed off from the iron sculpture framework ultimately dissolving in nature the way human bodies after death do. Referring to the recognizable homo bulla motive, Kulikovska to modernize it creating not a representation, whose esthetical context is to serve as an abstract sign, but the presentation, which dynamics of changes is more important than the form itself.

Delivery of the three soap sculptures in one of the isolation workshops is just the beginning of the project. We are to live side-by-side with the sculptures, their transient life documenting the very process of their gradual aging and inevitable untimely demise. After all, only photographs will remain – our isolation family album about those ones who used to be by our side*.

*Olena Chervonik - an author of the text and curator of Izolyatsia Art Centre.
Liked this page? Share it with your friends!