'Army of Clones' was born in 2010, where the sculptures are the replicas of artist's body, problematized the surface of the human body in general, the theme of a skin, the outer covering of the body as the boundary between inside and outside, living and non-living, as well as the definition of identity.
The exact repetition of the person, with its ad nauseam duplicity, cloned, was placed into a world where it went through stages of destruction and death, presenting a "death in one's waking hours". According to artist, gypseous clones could do something that no one can – to provide an opportunity to see the destruction of his/her own body, its after-death state.
What is more Maria was interested in the aspect of frailty of human's envelope, like that social representation, which completely disappears along with the physical death of the person, and not the repository of the immortal soul at all. Being devoid of color, the "neutral" white sculpture, placed in different environments, was emphasizing some special spiritlessness and moldness of mannequins – it was refering to the working plaster moulds, which were not designed for eternity, completeness, significance.
Human individuality, traditionally associated with appearance, is questioned when replicating one's image, cloning it. In essence, the membrane, the skin, which envelops the void – this is the figure of the 'Army of Clones'. This emptiness, unplenitude is highlighted in the "remains" of sculptures, that have been on display in a dilapidated form at various exhibitions. In this regard, the skin – is not just a boundary between who we are and who we are not. On the contrary, skin becomes a body, and we ourselves – become the skin, this is the contact area, and the body, like the skin, is a kingpin in art today.
The sculpture, initially understood as a memorial representation, returns to itself in 'Army of Clones' – as an opportunity and necessity to talk about the termination of human existence.
Written during winter 2012 by
Oksana Barshynova, art historian, critic, curator of the National Art Museum of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine