Soap Figure with Flowers
Soap sculpture with flowers inside. In a collection of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum. Odesa, Ukraine, summer 2019.
The soap sculpture with flowers inside became part of the permanent collection of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum after the exhibition «My skin is My Business» in the grotto of the museum. The exhibition also featured other full-sized sculptures and busts cast in various materials: soap, plaster, epoxy resin, paraffin and chocolate. The exhibition was held in summer of 2019.
Placed in an exhibition space with sculptures from other materials, this sculpture copy of Kulikovska's body has become an amalgamation of traditional art history motifs with topical local political and cultural issues. The material used to test weapons has become material for the creation of this art object. In turn, the artist's experience hidden inside a soap shell is the criticism of the military conflict.
The performative sculpture with flowers inside is a continuation of Kulikovska's work with the iconographic tradition of motif hortus conclusus, initiated in 2019 by her sculpture «Enclosed Garden». In this full-sized sculpture Maria Kulikovska closed in the soap all her injuries and experiences. Kulikovska decided to combine the tradition of the hortus conclusus motif with vanitas symbols of the homo bulla theme, which was so important to the artists of the Baroque-period. An example of this iconographic motif is a painting by baroque artist Bartholomeus van der Helst, who depicted circa 1665 a small boy blowing bubbles. The bubbles symbolize the brevity of life. Maria Kulikovska used vanitas symbols in the sculpture triptych «Homo Bulla - Human as Soap Bubble» for the first time in 2012. This typical Baroque symbolism of the ephemeral character of human existence was presented by the artist through the use of specific material of the sculpture.