Maria Plotnikova (b. 1983, Zhytomyr; raised in Mariupol) is a Ukrainian artist working mainly in performance and painting. In 2015, Maria was awarded the Chevening Scholarship, enabling her to enter the Contemporary Arts course at Oxford Brookes University. In 2017, she was awarded the first prize in Ukraine’s biennale festival “Tomorrow that never came” and had a solo show at IZOLYATSIA, Ukraine. In 2021, Maria completed her MFA degree at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, being a Fulbright Scholar. In 2021 Maria cocurated and took part in the performance festival “Proximity” in Chicago, US and did a solo show as part of her residency in the Institut für Alles Mögliche in Berlin, Germany. 


When the full-scale Russia-Ukraine war started, Maria was in Kyiv but had to leave the country soon after. Now, she is living and working in CeRCCa residency in Catalonia, Spain. During the first two months, she could not work because she could not believe and accept what was going on in her country. The mere thought of the possibility of war was overwhelming for Maria, and the collective pain was too deep. Based on this immensity, the "Cuts" project began. 


In the "Cuts", Maria tries to manifest the experience that she and other Ukrainians are currently having and to break down this indescribable, all-encompassing pain into smaller parts. Maria hopes that in this way it will become more available to be comprehended. In her practice, Maria reflects on collectivist and individualist paradigms, the relation between group and individual, and since February 2022—how war feels on an individual level, and how it relates to collective trauma. 

Maria Plotnikova

Photo by Arda Asena, 2021


Being a spectator of different societies and communities, not belonging to any of them; observing, analyzing and being involved in a number of interpersonal relations, I reflect on the phenomenon of connection between human beings in my work.


Through performance I hope the viewer can experience a sense

of the fragility and awkwardness of people’s relations to others; self-sacrifice as the ultimate price for belonging; the value

in every moment of being connected; freedom and loss when

left by oneself. 


The audience is invited to experience invisible processes that take place between people. Nameless events are brought to the visual level of perception so that the viewer can experience them through empathizing with the performers.


Photo by Arda Asena, 2021

Maria Plotnikova
Maria Plotnikova drawing
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