Yuliya Lanina

In Residence: Jan 23 – Mar 20, 2023

Exhibition: Mar 16 – May 7, 2023

Yuliya Lanina’s exhibition at Artpace, titled Mother/Land, delves into the artist’s complex relationship with the war in Ukraine. Through animation, sculpture, and installation, Lanina continues her introspective exploration of the emotional and physical impact of war, building on her previous work, Gefilte Fish, from 2021.  

The exhibition’s centerpiece is a large animation composed from emotionally charged ink drawings she started making since the war began. The continuous scroll of images represents the artist’s experience of the war from afar. Accompanying this moving animation is by a soundscape by Nina C. Young containing fragments of melodies from the Ukrainian national anthem, sirens, and birdsong. Large paper poppy sculptures with eyes are scattered throughout the gallery.   

Yuliya Lanina’s emphasis on handmade paper as the primary material in her art is a significant aspect of her creative approach, reflecting her handcrafted techniques. On the wall opposite the animation is a paper mural created out of stream-of-consciousness writings Lanina made while in residence.  A prominent figure takes up the center of the mural, representative of mother and motherland and the artist’s intricate relationship with both. The mother is creeping over a one-eyed figure (a stand-in for the artist) surrounded by eyes turned into flowers and lights. The eyes, often used throughout Lanina’s oeuvre, make clear that the flowers serve as witnesses to the destruction and turmoil that surrounds them.  

The exhibition’s color scheme, comprising black, white, and red, conveys the trauma, blood, and rage associated with war, lending a somber and contemplative atmosphere to the gallery space. The most vibrant display of color comes from the previously mentioned sculptural red poppy flowers, which carry a complex meaning for the artist. On the one hand, they are symbolic of people who died in the war. On the other hand, they remind Yuliya of the beautiful poppy fields of her childhood.  The exhibition’s final addition is an interactive mechanical figurine featuring a rotating drum in its stomach, representing brokenness and the internal processes that arise during stressful times – intense stomach aches, nausea, and illness. Through the use of horror and absurdity, Lanina invites viewers to examine the subject matter further and reflect on its message: war is a tragic, traumatic, and ongoing experience.  

Accompanying the exhibition is a limited-edition book with the drawings used to create the animation on view in the gallery. 


The artist would like to thank: Theodore Johnson (engineering), Anna Kravets (flower design), Yevgeniy Sharlat, Artpace staff and interns. 


Yuliya Lanina

Austin, Texas, USA

Yuliya Lanina is an interdisciplinary artist whose work exists at the intersection of visual art, performance, and technological innovation. She creates alternate realities in her works—ones based on trauma, sexuality, loss, and identity. A secular Jew of Ukrainian descent who was born and raised in Moscow, Lanina arrived in New York in 1990 as a political refugee. There, she established herself as a pioneering artist on the cutting edge by combining digital technologies with handmade media.

Lanina has exhibited and performed extensively both nationally and internationally, including SXSW Interactive, Texas; Seoul Art Museum, Korea; SIGGRAPH Asia, Japan; 798 Beijing Biennial, China; Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio; Patrick Heide Gallery, London, UK; Teatro Santa Ana, Mexico; Blanton Museum of Art, Texas; and Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Russia. Her recent solo show at Xposed gallery on New York’s High Line was viewed by more than 1,000 people per day over three weeks. The screening venues for her animations and films include Museum of Contemporary Art, Florida; Austrian Film Museum, Vienna, Austria; El Museo Cultural, New Mexico; Museum Ludwig, Germany; Project Arts Centre, Lithuania; and Le Carreau du Temple, Paris, France.

Lanina’s professional honors include fellowships and scholarships from Fulbright, Vienna, Austria; Headlands Art Center, California; Yaddo, New York; Artpace San Antonio, Texas; Marble House Project, New York; The Puffin Foundation, New Jersey; and CORE Cultural Funding Program, Texas. Recent speaking engagements include United Nations Human Rights Office, The University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria; GIFF, Mexico; and SXSW Interactive.

Lanina’s work has been featured in Brooklyn Rail, Houston Press, Glasstire, Art Review, Bloomberg News, Australian Art Review, SightLines, and Beijing Today. Yuliya was listed among the “top 10 artists in NYC now” by Revolt Magazine and received an honorable citation from the New York State Assembly in 2013.

Lanina’s collaborative projects, for which she created visuals to be displayed alongside performances by dancers or musicians, have been presented at the New Museum Festival, New York; San Diego Museum of Art, California; National Museum the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Lithuania; National Sawdust, New York; and recently at Kronos Quartet’s virtual festival.

Lanina holds an MFA in Combined Media from Hunter College and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY Purchase College. She is currently Assistant Professor of Practice at the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Gabriela Rangel

Gabriela Rangel is an independent curator, writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. From 2019 to 2021 she was artistic director of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). Previously, she was visual arts director and chief curator at Americas Society from 2004 to 2019. She holds an MA in curatorial studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, an MA in media and communications studies from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, and film studies from the International Film School at San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. She has worked at the Fundación Cinemateca Nacional and the Museo Alejandro Otero in Caracas, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Rangel have curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions on modern and contemporary art as well as monographic shows on Carlos Cruz-Diez, Marta Minujín, Gordon Matta-Clark, GEGO, Arturo Herrera, Silvia Gruner, José Leonilson, Eric Meyenberg, and Alejandro Xul Solar. She has written for Hyperallergic, Letras Libres, Revista Ñ, Art in America, Parkett, The Brooklyn Rail, and Art Nexus, edited numerous books, and contributed texts to such publications as Emily Mae Smith (Petzeld Gallery, New York); Pedro Reyes: Sociatry (Museum Marta Hertford, Hertford, Germany, 2022); Rosangela Renno (Pinacoteca de SP, 2021); Erick Meyenberg: D Major Isn’t Blue (Museo Amparo, 2020); Lydia Cabrera: Between the Sum and the Parts (Americas Society/Koenig Books, London, 2019); Contesting Modernity: Informalism in Venezuela 1955–1975 (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2018); Marta Minujín, Minocodes (Americas Society, 2016); and A Principality of Its Own (Americas Society/Harvard University Press, 2006). She is currently working on her book Strategies of Self Sabotage: Art and Politics in Venezuela 1959-1973

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