19 Sep 2023


Traversing the body as a dividing line

Traversing the body as a dividing line
Titanik Gallery, Turku
20 September – 8 October 2023, Tue–Fri 12–18

Opening event on Tuesday 19 September at 18:00–20:00. Welcome!

The body is where birth and death meet.  A shelter for the visceral and the intangible, dreams and voids both tactile and inaccessible – it is our only home which is constant in its physical presence.  When the world is in chaos we pinch ourselves to be sure of what is real.  Our body is a touchstone, something to hold on to, learn on; a figure that can be powerful amidst feelings of powerlessness.

Negotiating the space between potential and paralysis, many of the artworks exhibited embody the effects of displacement and the skewed reality of living with a foot in two different worlds.  Straddling an invisible horizon, the artists grapple with boundaries of freedom, the rituals of letting go and the boundless effects of war.

The exhibition Traversing the body as a dividing line spans many mediums, the human body can appear to be the central narrative, however, often humanness is used as a tool to highlight the nature of the landscape; social-political, emotional or environmental.

Exhibiting artists Alexandra Krolikowska, Anastasiia Sviridenko, Maria Kulikovska, Polina Choni, Sergii Shaulis and Stanislava Ovchinnikova have been part of the Ukraine Solidarity Residencies Programme during the year 2023.

Curators: Dana Neilson and Oleksandra Kokhan.

Alexandra Krolikowska is an interdisciplinary artist and psychologist based in Kyiv (b. 1990, Ukraine).  Utilizing means of analog photography, video, and performance in her art practice, Alexandra explores the question of political borders, social cohesion, and individual wholeness. Alexandra is interested in mythological thinking and human relations to nature. She also engaged in the research of metamodernism, so she unveils the archetypal image, imagined yet sincere and real aspect of events in her works.  She is currently working on her MA thesis on the psychotherapeutic function of photography within studies on Counselling Psychology at the Pereyaslav University of H.Skoworoda. Also, she has a curatorial project “Photos from the frontline. Diary of collective memories” created by the use of disposable cameras by soldiers.

Anastasiia Sviridenko (b. 1996, Ukraine) is a visual artist currently based in Tammisaari, Finland.  Her paintings are filled with broken and unstable creatures, balanced between being figurative and abstract, the shapes of the beings vanish into the colors. Working with sculpture, she combines found or used materials, intertwining reality and fiction, giving the objects a new way of life. The starting point of her practice is the search for connections between the feelings and the hidden knowledge of matter – whether it be a pencil or a leather jacket.  Sviridenko’s exhibition experience ranges from off-site exhibitions to gallery institutions.

Maria Kulikovska is a multimedia artist, architect, actionist/performer, researcher, and lecturer. She was born in 1988 in Kerch, Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine. She is known as a multimedia artist, performance artist, and master of political performance (a new direction for contemporary Ukrainian artists). She creates sculptures using original ballistic soap and natural materials. Her main themes are gender, queer, the body and its borders, women in a patriarchal society, war, and migration.  After the Russian federation’s annexation of Crimea, she has lived and worked in Kyiv, Donetsk, Malmo, Liverpool, London, Munich, and Stockholm in exile (after the occupation of the Crimea Peninsula in the spring of 2014 the artist has not returned to her hometown).  Maria together with her partner and co-author Oleg Vinnichenko are based in Kyiv permanently, where they founded Garage33, their studio and an experimental independent art space.

Polina Choni is a visual artist with a background in the fashion and film industry. She was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree from Kyiv National University of Technology and Design in 2017.  She works with the topics of environment, sustainability, and biodiversity. Nature is a source of inspiration and research for Polina, driving her exploration of the harmonious coexistence of humans with the environment. The main focus of her recent artworks is the ecological impact of the war in Ukraine. Her current practice reflects her commitment to raising awareness about ecocide consequences and advocating for a more sustainable future.

Sergii Shaulis is Ukrainian artist and sculptor who combines traditional sculpting techniques such as metal casting and welding with modern 3D technologies. Relying on his personal experience and experiences of those around him, Sergii explores the internal states of a being human and looks for a form that would reflect the essence of the problem or symbolise the condition.  For Sergii, the prevailing topic of the past 9 years has been war. War comes through in different series of work that he returns to, creating new pieces. The series has no final count and remains open for  new pieces. This process happens in parallel with the artist’s life, his work lives and develops together with him. Sergii keeps the opportunity to return, rethink, and introduce new forms and meanings to the existing series. This process is essentially endless and thus interesting to the artist.

Stanislava Ovchinnikova is an interdisciplinary artist whose interests lie primarily in politically engaged and trauma-based artistic practices. Her work relies on autobiographical materials and intergenerational histories, and she often involves other members of the affected communities at the research stage. Rather than confining herself to a particular approach or methodology, she employs various mediums to support the thematic center of her work.

For instance, in her project «Am I Dead Yet?», she interviewed 16 people about their relationship with death and the way various mental states impacted it. She then photographed her family on burned film to create a sense of erosion similar to that experienced in depression. In another project, «A Home, A Place To Sleep», Ovchinnikova embroidered a dialogue about occupation on a pillowcase that she took with her as a white flag when she fled her hometown, Kyiv, during the war.

Stanislava Ovchinnikova’s work has been exhibited internationally in places like the Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv, Taiteen Talo in Turku, The Show Gallery in Los Angeles, and The Factory in Berlin, published in Tagesspiegel and PhotoVogue Italy, and received funding from House of Europe, Goethe Institute and Deutscher Bibliotheksverband.

Traversing the body as a dividing line is organized within the context of the Ukraine Solidarity Residency Programme.  The current partners of the programme are AARK, Art Centre Salmela, Connecting Points programme, Fairres, Goethe-Institut Finnland, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, Kristinestad Art Residency, Loviisa Art Support Association, Nelimarkka Museum, Pro Artibus, Tahmelan Huvila, The Finnish Artists’ Studio Foundation, The Finnish Illustration Association Kuvittajat, and Värtsilä Artist Residency. The programme is supported by Kone Foundation, Nordic Culture Point, and the The Ministry of Education and Culture.