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Exhibition of works by Maria Kulikovska and Oleh Tistol

Date & Location

Kyiv, Ukraine, November


Prepared by the Spilne Art Gallery in collaboration with Oschadbank, this is a dialogue between two Ukrainian artists that goes beyond simple observation. It is a dialogue that, whether by chance or not, intertwines the themes of Crimea, questions of identity, nationality, war, and memory. This exhibition serves as a testament to the desire to contribute to the refined cultural experience of Oschadbank's guests. Management and curation by Spilne Art & Natalia Tkachenko.


Artist Maria Kulikovska belongs to a generation advocating for the country's movement towards the West, open democracy, and the values of the European Union. Her life and work were consistently intertwined with the political events that unfolded from the protests of Euromaidan from November 2013 to February 2014. In the city of Donetsk, the military of the self-proclaimed people's republic seized an independent art center and destroyed her first major publicly exhibited sculptures from 2012 – molds of her body made from quickly deteriorating soap. In Russia, she was added to the list of undesirable artists. In late December 2019, Maria Kulikovska and Oleh Vinnichenko founded and led the international non-binary art space Garage33.Gallery-Shelter.

At the core of her works is her own body, not the female body as an abstract form. Her body is a battlefield where often ambivalent emotions arise and struggle with each other. Personal experiences, disappointments, and confrontations engage in their internal struggle within this body. They fight for what provides stronger motivation: despair and fear or confidence and courage. In this body, it is decided which force is stronger – hatred and revenge or love and compassion. Dramas of fears, desires, and hopes unfold in this body.

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In the art of Tistol, which emerged at the intersection of the Soviet and post-Soviet eras, there is a synthesis that revisits the clichés of Soviet culture and the vitality and exuberance that defined the essence of the Ukrainian "New Wave." In his early works, Tistol combined national and Soviet symbols, myths, or utopias. The artist's works, both early and contemporary, represent the characteristic features of the "Ukrainian New Wave": vivid expressiveness, openness, and emphasized excess combined with avant-garde interpretations of historical narratives, images, and motifs of national culture.

The series "Ai Petri" consists of around 300 works depicting Mount Ai-Petri. Oleh Tistol began working on this series on the eve of February 24, 2022, and continued during the full-scale invasion after a two-week creative pause as a reflection on the events. Tistol's mountains are filled with a play of meanings, symbols, and codes. Realistic depictions of mountain peaks of various colors are painted on the canvases, with stenciled ornaments applied on top, carrying significant meaning for the artist—they serve as a journey through the history of art, incorporating elements of the Renaissance, pop art, and Hutsul paper cutting.

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