Ambiguous agent of change...

art & theory

Yelena Myshko

Born in Kyiv, Ukraine
Based in Zutphen, the Netherlands

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2019 Kunstschouw Award, shortlisted, material prize awarded
2019 Walter Koschatzky Art-Award, nominated
2018 BLOOOM Award by Warsteiner, nominated
2017 Hendrik Muller Fonds, awarded
2017 ArtEZ Profileringsfonds, awarded
2009 HKU Jan van Scorel Fonds, awarded

2012 Gen Y Folk: anthropology of digital culture, ROAM, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2010 One Hour Art: second hour, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, the Netherlands

2021 AUSTRAL from the Virtual Realm, AUSTRAL Performance Art Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2021 V International Biennial of Nude “Marko Krstov Gregović”, Public Institution Museums and galleries of Budva, Budva and Petrovac, Montenegro
2019 Concept the 5th International Exhibition of Conceptual Art, Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA), Gimpo, South Korea
2019 Walter Koschatzky Art-Award, MUMOK Hofstallungen, Vienna, Austria
2019 Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts Annual, Mystic Museum of Art, Mystic, Connecticut, USA
2018 PerfoArtNet International Biennal of Performance, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá, Colombia
2018 Endangered Bodies, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
2018 Temporal and Corporeal: a broad scope on performance art, Ohio University Art Gallery, Athens, Ohio, USA
2014 ULTRA FEMINIST, Roodkapje Rot(t)terdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2010 One Hour Art: first hour, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, the Netherlands

2020-2021 An Artist Residency in Motherhood, self-funded
2019 Arts Unfold: Naked State residency, Fonds Kwadraat loan

Postponed* Lightning talk at Queering Wikipedia Conference, Linz, Austria
2020 CHRONICLES of CONFINEMENT: Europe Conference, online

2014 Sacred Genital Alignment, SWEAT, group show, Roodkapje Rot(t)terdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2014 The Pussy Alignment, ULTRA FEMINIST, group show, Roodkapje Rot(t)terdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Joyce Overheul (NL), David Frankovich (CA), Melanie Bonajo (NL), Ruchama Noorda (NL), Jasper Griepink (NL), Toine Klaassen (NL), Fleur Ouwerkerk (NL), Leandro Cardoso & Caetano Carvalho (BR), Chto Delat? (RU), Andrea Crews (FR)

2018 MSSc, TEMA Genus, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
2017 MA, ArtEZ University of Arts, Arnhem, Netherlands
2014 Minor, Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2010 BA, HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht, Netherlands

*Postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic until 2021


Yelena Myshko is a multidisciplinary artist based in Zutphen, the antroposophic capital of Netherlands. She was born in former Soviet Union, now Kyiv, Ukraine in 1985. Myshko holds a BA from Utrecht School of the Arts, MA from ArtEZ University of Arts and MSSc from Linköping University. Although her background is in fashion and gender studies, performance plays an integral part in her artistic practice since Myshko was introduced to it in 2005.

Her interest in politics led to an affiliation with the international protest group FEMEN for two years. Myshko participated in boot camps and actions in Germany, France and the Netherlands, eventually becoming the leader of FEMEN Netherlands. This experience influenced her artistic tone of voice and visual language.

Myshko exhibited in the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Montenegro, Russia, South Korea, Colombia, Argentina, Canada and USA. She was nominated for the BLOOOM Award 2018 (DE), Walter Koschatzky Art-Award 2019 (AT) and received a material prize from Kunstschouw Award 2019 (NL). Her work is published in the news, magazines and books.

Artist Statement

My artistic practice is grounded in lived experience. As a woman I have a subjective point of view, as a feminist I use it to critique the social construction of art. I am a parrhesiast that speaks her truth no matter the consequences, establishing a polemic relationship with the World. By locating existential tension points within my socio-cultural environment and projecting them on my body, I provide a subversive perspective on the female (nude).

My aesthetic choices could be described as Dirty Realism, like the literature genre. I implode mundane aspects of ordinary life and turn them into a weapon that destroys conventional beauty to propose a counterfit. Using no make-up, everyday objects, and blunt body language I construct a reductionist vocabulary. However, at times, I use elaborate costumes and body paint, accompanied by elegant body language to create the artistic dimension. The challenge though, always is to use simple means in resourceful ways.

I tread in the footsteps and politics of neo-avant-garde that gave birth to Fluxus and feminist artists. In particular, appropriating Hannah Wilke’s performalist self-portrait and Valie Export's feminist actionism. Performalist self-portrait is performance in front of the camera, resulting in intimate images that reach the audience through reproduction. Feminist actionism is an art historical political strategy that I combine with Pussy Riot's media actionism, using social media, newspapers, magazines, and TV to document and spread my work.

By distributing performalist and actionist images, I explore the phenomenology of identity production. I use both methods to capture a moment that communicates ambiguity. This grabs attention and provokes associational thinking. My work is often unsettling, it pinches and makes you look twice. In this way I facilitate my role as a critical actor instead of being an object in art.

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