«Salt of the Earth» is a replica of the sculpture installation «Soma - Body without Gender», which was shown as part of the group exhibition of a young Ukrainian artist at PinchukArtCentre. This artwork from the salt pillars was created three years after the prototype of it and became part of the exhibition at Mystetskyi Arsenal. The salt for pillars of «Salt of the Earth» was brought up from Soledar mine, as opposed to pillars of «Soma - Body without Gender». Soledar is a city in the north of Donbass - in the painful conflict territory.
«Salt of the Earth», like its predecessor, is an artistic landscape of continual breakdown. Some pillars fell and broke down, some of them became stronger and harder. The sculpture installation of Maria Kulikovska is a continuation of the artist's work with an architectural basis – pillars-symbols of vertical hierarchical sculpture. Representing the vertical of authority to be deconstruction, Kulikovska asked about a need for horizontal restructuring of society, which eliminates any kind of hierarchy.
«The pillar is a main architectural construction element, the body of the structure of society. However, the vertical hierarchical structure of the contemporary world is crumbling and drives to destroying and increasing humanitarian catastrophe, - Maria Kulikovska wrote. - The pillar as a symbol of verticality, power and eternity, a symbol of civilization, the patriarchal structure of this world cannot handle the burden. So it is falling apart. On the other side, some pillars of humanity became stronger and infallible».
«Salt of the Earth», like «Soma - Body without Gender», is closely related to Kulikovska's sculpture installation «Sweet/Swiss Life» inside a clear cube of the gallery in the park of Uster, Switzerland. But as opposed to the «sweet» blocks of «Sweet/Swiss Life», the material of the blocks of «Salt of the Earth» is determined by local context - Ukrainian salt. Moreover, the Greek word «soma» means all body's cells without sex organs, so without gender identification. The blocks of the sculpture installation «Salt of the Earth» were of equal height, but they're all different, like an individual unit of society.
* based on the text from the exhibition «From Action to Performative Sculpture: Maria Kulikovska» at the Shcherbenko Art Centre, Kyiv, 2020.