by Josefine Hübler

The video and performance artist Mariya Vasilyeva was born in Kiev in 1993 and relocated to Germany at the age of twelve. Through the experience as an Ukrainian immigrant in Western Europe, Vasilyeva questions numerous patterns of her own identity, especially as a woman.

How do the culturally prefabricated role models of a woman come into being and which ones serve as playful means for my art?

Screenshot of „NEON ALTAR“, 01:21 min, 1920x1080 (full HD), stereo, 2019

These questions constitute an intrinsic component of Vasilyeva’s artistic work. By the age of 14, she had started experimenting with photo collages made from a myriad of self-portraits, attempting to bridge the gap between two socializations — that of Eastern & Western Europe. Her work explores the impact of today’s digitalized economy on postmodernity, focusing on themes such as pornography, power relations, and the struggle of self-articulation and regulation. Her primary emphasis throughout the production process is to intensely engage with her own body.

By duplicating, amplifying, deforming, dehumanizing her body — thus altering her identity — she endeavours towards a new aesthetic that is characterized by the process of moving away from the human towards the abstract — non-organic, non-human, and mystical, thus creating an artificial being made up of a thousand individual parts of herself. The video works frequently display extracts of her naked body, acting as sculptural foundations, which are linked with figurative, crude and fantastic symbols and, in a continuous loop, portray a snippet of motion through time and space.

All five NFT’s are video assemblages that play with iconographic portrayals of sacred beings, humorously reinvent Solomon’s Columns by enriching them with elements of pornography and cheerleading or approach the aesthetics of intestines by creating a beautiful self-sewn garment consisting of a seemingly endless intestinal vortex.

Throughout the production process, Vasilyeva depends on her own craft. Whether set design, requisites, digital post-production or analogue fabrication are all exclusively designed and executed by the artist. With this very individual — solitary — process, the artist consciously refers to the process of identity-making, which is often perceived very individually and is therefore difficult to share with others — unless they have made the same experiences.

Thus, people often find themselves in a breakaway state of solitude, which, in this special way of Vasilyeva’s work, reaches a moment of culmination. She addresses the themes of fairy tales, pornography and power relations in an extremely intuitive — seemingly innocent — way. Like a child losing itself in the act of playing, inhabiting a million different characters and exploring its own limits, Vasilyeva uses this approach to create an ironically diverse cast of characters and beings. The result is a diorama that is not very different from our own — a world permeated by oppressive power relations, violence, cynical entertainment and permanent transgression of boundaries. Irony is an indispensable feature for her to abstract, deconstruct and distort these repressions in an artistic way, thus adding further layers to them. The resulting montage serves as a projection surface for a state of tension between the public and the private, with the body serving as a vehicle.

NFTs provide Mariya Vasilyeva with a promising opportunity to show and sell her work, which is exclusively in the realm of digital art, in an appropriate way. Ideally, she would like to merge physical and digital space and allow spectators to take away the experiences they encountered through NFTs and be able to “relive” them in their domestic environment. The artist sees herself as an active member of the digital community and therefore wants to use the developments around NFTs for her own artistic expression. After all, she often failed to convey her digital work from the digital to the conventional art market — which is defined by the tangible space — this phenomenon can be observed among many other digital artists.

To watch all NFTs and discover our other artist vistit https://www.prtl.art/artists/mariya-vasilyeva

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