My Body is a Battlefield. Maria Kulikovska & Oleg Vinnichenko / Linz

08.09. – 20.11. 2022

Already before the war, the Ukrainian artist Maria Kulikovska dealt with the social tensions of patriarchal systems dominated by homophobic autocrats and the queer understanding of the roles of people who live in such political systems from a feminist perspective.

The own female body, its transformation, queerness, war, censorship, the experience of expulsion, flight and violence are themes that Kulikovska deals with.

Kulikovska has been in exile since the outbreak of war. In her works, which she has been realizing in cooperation with Oleg Vinnichenko for a long time, the focus is on her own female body, its transformation and queerness. She deals with topics such as war, census, experience of expulsion, flight and violence.

Her artistic work is closely linked to her biography. Due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the artist, who was born in Kerch, Crimea in 1988, became a homeless refugee and was put on a list of unwanted artists. In the same year, at the Isolyatsia Foundation compound in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, some of her soap sculptures were destroyed by the self-proclaimed pro-Russian militia. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022 forced her and her daughter to flee again.

Maria Kulikovska’s performances and body practices are mostly based on the interaction with her sculptural objects. They are interactions that analyze and explore the surrounding space and its architecture. Kluikovska not only studies the spatial context but also the history of the place and its objects.

Her actions very often focus on the topic of borders.  She sharply criticizes all forms of borders. Whether politically territorial or in social role attributions. In doing so, she often takes great personal risks, for example in an action on a mined beach in a Russian-occupied area near Mariupol.

With her performative actions in public space, Kulikovska knows how to create memorable images with a strong political impact, such as in an action in Paris where, shortly after Putin’s troops invaded Crimea, a long line of “fallen” performers lined an avenue covered with the Ukrainian flag as if covered by a piece of cloth, created a performative memorial in public space, which also attracted a lot of media attention.

The first solo exhibition by the artist team Kulikovska – Vinnichenko in the Germanspeaking world will be presented at the Francisco Carolinum in Linz.

My Body is a Battlefield. Maria Kulikovska & Oleg Vinnichenko
08.09. – 20.11. 2022
Linz, Museum Francisco Carolinum