Hortus Conclusus: Enclosed Garden
Sculpture from ballistic soap with flowers. In a collection of the Zenko Foundation. August 2019.
«A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up» (from the Song of Songs 4:12).
This performative sculpture was made in August 2019. Now it's in a collection of the Zenko Foundation. The flowers, «prisoners» in the soap base, are a continuation of the iconographic tradition of hortus conclusus that is deeply rooted in the texts of Song of Solomon from the Vulgate. The hortus conclusus was one of a number of depictions of the Virgin Mary with little Christ in the beautiful walled garden. The first images of the enclosed garden in art appeared during the Renaissance. The enclosed garden symbolizes absolute purity and innocence, and its arrangement was similar to theatrical decorations. The iconography of the closed garden was used by artists of different artistic epochs using different mediums: painting, sculpture, photography, installation.
The concept of this artwork created by Maria Kulikovska was the hortus conclusus. The sculpture with the flowers inside is an example of the contemporary understanding of the magnificent divine garden, which symbolizes the «closed off» womb of Virgin. Closed in a tight space of the soap shell, the flowers are a peculiar divine garden of the artist with all her internal issues and questions, the answers to which Maria Kulikovska tries to find by referring to the performative methods of experiment with the sculpture.