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Sweet/Swiss Life

Installation of 700 homemade sugar and milk bricks inside the transparent container gallery of AKKU in the public park of Uster, Switzerland, summer – fall 2012.

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, Switzerland art, Switzerland artists, Switzerland exhibition, Switzerland gallery, Switzerland buy art, Switzerland sculptures, Switzerland art dealers, uster art, uster exhibition, uster contemporary sculptures, akku art, akku exhibitions, akku artists, akku gallery, sugar sculptures, milk art, sugar art, food art, 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, Switzerland art, Switzerland artists, Switzerland exhibition, Switzerland gallery, Switzerland buy art, Switzerland sculptures, Switzerland art dealers, uster art, uster exhibition, uster contemporary sculptures, akku art, akku exhibitions, akku artists, akku gallery, sugar sculptures, milk art, sugar art, food art, 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, Switzerland art, Switzerland artists, Switzerland exhibition, Switzerland gallery, Switzerland buy art, Switzerland sculptures, Switzerland art dealers, uster art, uster exhibition, uster contemporary sculptures, akku art, akku exhibitions, akku artists, akku gallery, sugar sculptures, milk art, sugar art, food art, 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, Switzerland art, Switzerland artists, Switzerland exhibition, Switzerland gallery, Switzerland buy art, Switzerland sculptures, Switzerland art dealers, uster art, uster exhibition, uster contemporary sculptures, akku art, akku exhibitions, akku artists, akku gallery, sugar sculptures, milk art, sugar art, food art, 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, Switzerland art, Switzerland artists, Switzerland exhibition, Switzerland gallery, Switzerland buy art, Switzerland sculptures, Switzerland art dealers, uster art, uster exhibition, uster contemporary sculptures, akku art, akku exhibitions, akku artists, akku gallery, sugar sculptures, milk art, sugar art, food art, 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, Switzerland art, Switzerland artists, Switzerland exhibition, Switzerland gallery, Switzerland buy art, Switzerland sculptures, Switzerland art dealers, uster art, uster exhibition, uster contemporary sculptures, akku art, akku exhibitions, akku artists, akku gallery, sugar sculptures, milk art, sugar art, food art, 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, Switzerland art, Switzerland artists, Switzerland exhibition, Switzerland gallery, Switzerland buy art, Switzerland sculptures, Switzerland art dealers, uster art, uster exhibition, uster contemporary sculptures, akku art, akku exhibitions, akku artists, akku gallery, sugar sculptures, milk art, sugar art, food art, buy art, art online, art collections, art collectors, art gallery
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In summer 2012, Maria Kulikovska got a scholarship to AKKU. This allowed the creation of the art project at gallery-container in the public park of Uster, Switzerland. The artist started working with local context while living in Switzerland. «Sweet/Swiss Life» is an installation of 700 (there were 10 times fewer than the Swiss population) homemade sugar and milk bricks inside a transparent glass cube. The bricks were folded in the form of pillars. Maria Kulikovska appealed to «sweet» Swiss life in a very rich country to build the «sweet», but tended to further disintegration of blocks. The sweet Swiss life is a pretty, but distant dream for East Europe. The sugar pillars of this installation became the foundation for the construction of the social landscape. Rethinking the main ideology of consumption of this project affects the displacement vector from European context to local discourse. Are our valuables really different?

During the opening of the project the artist held the performance, in which she was building her own home through the «sweet» blocks and handed out the tale texts about the Three Little Pigs.

* based on the text from the exhibition «From Action to Performative Sculpture: Maria Kulikovska» at the Shcherbenko Art Centre, Kyiv, 2020.
In a world-flooding twilight the glass 'ark' of 'art-container' filled with yellowish light seems to be the saving focus of life and warmth. But this is quite a misleading impression. In fact, inside, behind the glass, an active process of entropy is taking place, the entropy of material and spiritual. An object created by Maria Kulikovska is slowly deforming, melting and guttering here in this capsule – it is the brick made of the "world's best" Swiss milk and sugar. Another one variation on the theme of the illusion of wealth – that is rather a fragile basement of life.

House made of sugar and milk – almost the same as the "House of Sand and Fog", fata morgana

'Art-container' – a public exhibition space, supported by institution AKKU ('Battery'), which is located in Uster, Swiss Canton of Zurich. This time the container successfully fitted into the typical landscape of the bourgeois paradise – gravel, well-conditioned lakeshore which is a traditional place for Swiss Sunday picnics. Here lies the "border of the worlds": on the one side of the lake there is a social housing, on the other – office centers are being built. There is something fascinating, magical, Beuys-ish in this show, in its idea to work with this vital substance (the only question is "of what?" – a nation or contemporary consumer society per se). Milky caramelized mass – is the personification of the myth about beautiful, sweet life that attracts absolutely everyone, but can't be reached by everybody. Oh, Switzerland! A country of people with perfect karma, the country of embodied "European Dream" – milk and honey, milk and honey…

Maria Kulikovska, after receiving a scholarship from AKKU, got into an unfamiliar, new socio-cultural environment and naturally took the opportunity to study it hungrily and try to reflect, that is, to become a reflection of a "radically different" – lifestyle, mentality and value system. The attempt turned out to be quite successful, within this project the artist created some miracle of combination at one point of radically opposed views on reality – the look of insider and the outsider view. It is an observation of exotic welfare from the point of our poor "third world", and, at the same time, the Swiss look at themselves – and, in fact, this is a closed xenophobic society.

Cliquishness allows it to maintain a stable hothouse conditions of artificial prosperity. Life is predictable here – hasteless, measured, planned up to a minute. There were no wars for a long time, all money in the world flocks here, everything material is fetishized – the Swiss are sure that they consume not just the most expensive of everything, but surely – "the best", regardless of what it actually is. It is this hypertrophied cult of material, ideology of "masters of life" prescribed without a shadow of a doubt, that the artist was impressed by…

And, she decided facetiously to build an "unbreakable" fortress of welfare, or, at least, the wall of a ton of sweet bricks, which with the recruitment of a certain height was treacherously sinking. There is a coded metaphor of "Sisyphean labor" in this ill-fated construction – in the pursuit of material, we are ready for a fresh start over and over again just to suffer another one defeat…

During the performance Kulikovska was handing out to the audience sheets with text of the tale about three little pigs – that is a kind of confusing signs false message. It is always worthy to strive for perfection, choosing the best of all possible options – here is the pillar of the consumption ideology. The best – is the enemy of the good. But even ingredients of "Swiss Quality" won't insure us against defeat in the knowingly ridiculous enterprises. The hidden magic of this milky-sugary show softens its hard critical message. The bricks resembling white chocolate bars still look very tempting and delicious…

The paradox of self-knowledge – only by watching others you comprehend yourself. No introspection can bring as much good as looking at others from outside. Because despite the superficial social and cultural differences, differences in the culture of material goods consumption, the fundamental value system of capitalism – is always the same. No matter what stage of development it is – the "wild" or developed one.

Thus the irony directed at others always turns out to be the irony directed at ourselves. We, despite the fact of being still passionate about the struggle for survival, are bogged down with consumption just the same way – from the Ukrainian perspective, this project looks like, to some extent, a prophetic…


Viktoria Burlaka - an author of the text, curator, art critic, 2012