Maria Kulikovska

Exhibited at the Odesa Fine Arts Museum, Ukraine, 2022


Maria Kulikovska was born in 1988 in Kerch, Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine. Following her studies in Kyiv and Stockholm, Kulikovska designed several architectural projects in China and Switzerland, and gave lectures and workshops on contemporary art in Ukraine and abroad. She is known as a multimedia artist, performance artist, and master of political performance which is a new direction for contemporary Ukrainian artists. Focused on creating sculptures using original ballistic soap and natural materials, her work explores themes of the body and its borders, gender and queerness, war and migration, women in a patriarchal society, and fragility of life.


Kulikovska has been forced to flee her home twice – first from Crimea in 2014 during the Russian annexation, and then once again from Kyiv in 2022 when the war erupted. Her forced departure from Ukraine with her parents and newborn daughter is an extension of years of wandering. Now living in double-exile, she profoundly feels isolated more than ever from her homeland, in particular being separated from her beloved husband and collaborator Uleg Vinnichenko. As Kulikovska said: “I am a lonely nomad, but this time with a little one.” She is currently living and working temporarily in Helsinki through the HIAP residency program until she can find a place to settle down permanently.


As a multimedia artist, activist, researcher and lecturer, Kulikovska creates art that generates visceral responses in viewers. The nucleus of Kulikovska’s work is her own body, its perpetuation, its transformation and its decay. Throughout her oeuvre, the idea of her body is transformed into architectural structures made from natural materials, such as salt, milk or sugar, in order to deal with ideas of production, construction and de-construction. Her self-casted body sculptures invite us to ponder on social and political issues of feminism, queer representation, war, and human rights. The artist considers her watercolour and ceramic works as performative paintings, in which her oft-macabre, oft-nude subjects visualise her psychological distress over her sense of abandonment and loneliness that arose from her loss of agency in life. Together with her partner Uleg Vinnichenko, Kulikovska founded MKUV studio in 2017, and the international non-binary art space GARAGE 33 in 2019.


Maria Kulikovska (b. 1988, Ukraine) currently lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. She graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv and Konstfack University in Stockholm. In 2017, she was selected for a residency at the Liverpool Biennial, and held her first solo institutional exhibition at the Francisco Carolinum Linz, Austria in September 2022. Over the past year, her work has been shown in New York, Karlsruhe, Copenhagen, Wien, and Linz. In April 2022, Kulikovska was invited to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin to stage her durational performance “254”, during which the artist laid motionless on the steps of the museum covered by a Ukrainian flag. This unauthorized performance was first shown in 2014 during the opening of “Manifesta 10” in St. Petersburg, Russia. Its title “254” refers to the number that Kulikovska received while fleeing to Kyiv after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Under this number, she was registered as a refugee in her own country. Today her works are in key private and institutional collections including Art Collection Telekom, Germany; Odesa Fine Arts Museum, Ukraine; and Francisco Carolinum Linz, Austria.

Selected Works