A SOAP OPERA
Artist Masha Kulikovska repeats her Lustration performance for the Vogue UA art issue, taking an ice bath with her own clone made of soap. She dedicates it to woman, war and the fragility of human body.
Masha Kulikovska grew up on the cusp of two eras. She is 30, the age of youth and maturity. Born in Crimea, she lives cruising back and forth between European cities and Kiev. She has a delicate, feminine body and a lot of questions to herself and the world. Masha is an artist, well-known beyond Ukraine: in the last six months, she has had shows in Vienna, London, Copenhagen and Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Her art is about being a woman in Ukraine today. About changing. Not being afraid of what people might say. Speaking about the things, which are normally hushed up.
First it might seem there are two Mashas, one of them creating delicate sculptures, castings of her body. In the last few years, they have been all over the world — from Mystetskyi Arsenal and Vsi Svoi store in Kreshchatik Street, Kiev, to the gardens of Galicia, Spain. This somewhat surprised gazing into oneself is part of the selfie culture, going back to Frida Kahlo, a feeling any girl is familiar with. Masha’s works reference the classical tradition. A graduate of the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture, she knows it all about the history of art and professional nuances of making casts of your own body.
Kylikovska’s art is dominated by two major themes — body and politics. Devastated by the annexation of the Crimea, she dedicated a number of gut-wrenching performances to it, the Raft Crimea the most famous of them. It is actually a raft, on which the artist went down the Dnieper River near Kiev as a tribute to countless people who lost their homes after the events of 2014.
This year, on March 8, amidst the festivities and protests instigated by the International Women’s Day, Masha Kulikovska staged the Lustration performance at the Mystetskyi Arsenal. “I spent two hours in a bath of ice-cold water on the Mystetskyi Arsenal stage. I had the exact copy of my body, my clone next to me, slowly dissolving into the water. Washing off your own face hurts a lot, both physically and mentally.” She has repeated the performance for Vogue Ukraine — an eight-hour photoshoot became a very personal, painful revelation for both Masha and our team.