Instructions on Surviving Through Art During War and Exile

Maria KULIKOVSKA (artist) in conversation with Iryna KURHANSKA (Office Ukraine)

The Raft CrimeA. Kyiv – Vylkove, Ukraine. 16–25 August 2016. © Maria Kulikovska

Maria Kulikovska, an artist from Crimea, Ukraine, has already become a displaced person twice due to the Russian war against Ukraine. After the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, the artist was not able to return to her hometown Kerch, Crimea. In 2022 she was forced to leave her home again. The experience of being a displaced person is at the core of her artistic-performative practice. On 1 July 2014, she made a performance at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia, during the Manifesta 10. The documentation of the unauthorized performance 254 – her refugee number, which she received in Kyiv in 2014 – is currently on view at Neue Galerie Innsbruck in the context of the exhibition Artists Support Ukraine. Also in her ongoing performative project Raft CrimeA. The Displaced Parliament of the Displaced, a floating phantom republic of the displaced, she draws attention to those who have lost their voice and their home and are left without political representation. In Innsbruck, Maria Kulikovska will discuss her artistic responses to war and displacement and raise the question of how to survive through art in times of war and exile.

The event was initiated by Office Ukraine Innsbruck and takes place in the context of the exhibition Artists Support Ukraine at Neue Galerie.

Maria KULIKOVSKA is a multimedia artist, architect, actionist-performer, researcher, and lecturer. She is co-founder of the MKUV Studio, gallery-shelter Garage33 in Kyiv, and the School of Political Performance (SPP). Kulikovska was born in 1988 in Kerch, Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine. Since the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, the artist has never returned to her hometown. She lived and worked in Kyiv-Donetsk-Kyiv-Malmo-Kyiv-Liverpool-London-Kyiv-Munich-Stockholm-Kyiv in exile. Before the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022, Kulikovska has been living in Kyiv with her partner and collaborator Uleg Vinnichenko. In March 2022, she was forced to flee the country with her newborn baby. During summer 2022, she took part in the OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH artist-in-residency program in Linz, Austria. Currently, Maria Kulikovska is artist-in-residence at the Helsinki International Artist Program in Finland and teaches at the University of Arts Linz.

Iryna KURHANSKA was born in Kyiv in 1995. She studied Literature and Cultural Studies at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She worked as a curator assistant for YaGallery Art Center (Kyiv, Ukraine), which focuses on contemporary Ukrainian art. She was involved in creating a permanent exposition of the state museum dedicated to the Soviet occupation of Ukraine (National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide) as a researcher and curator. Since April 2022, Iryna has been working for Office Ukraine Innsbruck.


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