Engaged Feminist Maker

Art, Fashion, Theory

Yelena Myshko

Born in 1985 in Kyiv, Ukraine
Based in Arnhem, the Netherlands

2018 BLOOOM Award by Warsteiner nominee
2017 Hendrik Muller Fonds grant
2017 ArtEZ Profileringsfonds grant
2009 Elle NL Stylist Award semi-finalist
2009 HKU Jan van Scorel Fonds grant

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

2018 PerfoArtNet International Biennal of Performance, Bogotá, Colombia
2018 Endangered Bodies, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
2018 33nd Tallahassee International Exhibition, FSU Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
2018 Artist Statement #3, Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA), Gimpo, South Korea
2018 Temporal and Corporeal, Ohio University Art Gallery, Athens, Ohio, USA
2017 The Frozen Chernozyom, Prospect Revolutsii, Voronezh, Russia
2017 Surgery Slave by The Nave, London, United Kingdom
2017 Dufus Tedious, Paleis van Mieris, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2017 Beyond Fashion, Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2014 Asalto!, Espacio Trapézio, Madrid, Spain
2014 ULTRA FEMINIST, Roodkapje Rot(t)terdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2013 Inf.Ins, Leeszaal Rotterdam West, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2012 Artists bound by fashion, The House of Rising, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2011 Six degrees of separation, Roodkapje Rot(t)terdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2011 Project Mousewalk, Noorderlicht Festival, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2010 HKU Fruit Fest, Huis a/d Werf, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2010 One Hour Art: first hour, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2010 ZWART GAT, Zeedijk 6, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2009 ROES, Oudegracht, Utrecht, the Netherlands

2012 Non Verbal Communication Center and Art Wellness Spa by Melanie Bonajo, group expo, Now I lay me down to eat, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim, the Netherlands
2012 Wisdom at the End of Nature by Melanie Bonajo, group expo, Now I lay me down to eat, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim, the Netherlands
2012 Asocialen Private Prophesy Detox by Ruchama Noorda, group expo, Now I lay me down to eat, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim, the Netherlands
2012 Gif Alchemy by Leandro Cardoso and Caetano Carvalho, solo expo, IMPAKT, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2012 Dooier Tombe Neo-Lasqaux by Jasper Griepink and Toine Klaassen, solo expo, Kunstvlaai Festival, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2012 Sjassa B. lovejoy Practice by Jasper Griepink, solo expo, Tidens Krav, Oslo, Norway
2011 Where has communism gone by Chto Delat? Collective, solo expo, NASA, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2011 The Plantdoctor is in Town by Jasper Griepink, solo expo, Soledad Senlle Gallery, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2010 Coronation of the Mandragora Lord by Jasper Griepink, group expo, Annual Graduation Show, HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2010 First appearance of the Mandragora Lord by Jasper Griepink, group expo, Trip-Tease, Kunstpodium-T, Tilburg, the Netherlands
2008 The circus of the freshest costumery by Andrea Crews, group expo, Rainbow Bites, IMPAKT Festival, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Linköping University Electronic Press, Witte Rook (blog), 33nd Tallahassee International Exhibition Catalogue, Artist Statement 3 by CICA Press, SABAT Magazine (blog), A5 Magazine #11 and #12, Wotisart Magazine #11 (cover), Average Art Magazine #19, HYSTERIA #8 (back cover), BODY ISSUE #1, Peep Publication #1 (poster), TRASH AESTHETICS, Maatschappij & Politiek 44 #8, FNVB Magazine #4, Zij aan Zij 22 #8, Trajectum (blog)
Press mentions:
Hamburg Bild / MOPO Hamburger Morgenpost / B.Z. Berlin Nachrichte / Algemeen Dagblad / Leidsch Dagblad / NRC Next / Het Parool / Trouw / Volkskrant / De Telegraaf Vrouw / NOS / AFP / Line Press

TV5MONDE / RT Ruptly / LCP Assemblée Nationale / France 3 Paris Ile-de-France / Euro News. / NOS op 3 / Spuiten en Slikken BNNVARA


Yelena Myshko is an artist based in Arnhem, the Netherlands. She was born in 1985 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Yelena studied Fashion Design and Strategy in the Netherlands and Gender Studies in Sweden. She was introduced to performance art during her studies and created experiences around her conceptual fashion collections. After graduating she continued to develop as a performance artist.

Her interest in performance and feminism led to an affiliation with international feminist protest group FEMEN for two years. Yelena participated in boot camps and actions in Germany, France and the Netherlands and briefly functioned as the leader of FEMEN Netherlands. This experience influenced Yelena´s artistic tone of voice and visual language.

Yelena exhibited in the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Russia, South Korea, Portugal, Colombia and USA. She was nominated for the BLOOOM Award 2018. Her work was published in various magazines that promote emerging artists.

Artist Statement

The personal is political. Foucault suggests that parrhesia is an intrinsic part of politics. He developed the concept of parrhesia as a mode of discourse in which one speaks openly and truthfully about one's opinions and ideas without the use of rhetoric, manipulation, or generalization. The courage to speak the truth always demands a questioning of one’s motives and actions and establishes a polemic relationship with the World.

Out of my lived experience two strategies emerge that form my parrhesiastic practice: performance and feminist activism. In performance the artwork is the artist, and the performance is an act of life. It allows me to express my truth. While feminism establishes the importance of grounding in subjectivity from which I speak as a woman.

My work resonates in the aesthetic tradition of dirty realism by amplyfies mundane and bare life. This manifests in the choice for simplified setting, no make-up and everyday objects. Through these aesthetic choices I protest against glamour and beauty standards. I use dirty realism as a tool to destroy beauty.

As a woman, I have a subjective point of view. As an engaged feminist maker I am interested in this subjectivity as the means of critique. I extrapolate existential tension points within my socio-cultural environment and project them on my body to create confrontational art. I use my body because it is governed by social constructions that attempt to regulate my identity and should be deconstructed and questioned in order to transform them.

Through my performalist self-portraits I explore the phenomenology of identity production. I create ambiguous content to grab the spectator’s attention with the goal to provoke an associational thought process. This allows me to create an engaged female identity that is a reflexive actor in stead of an object in art.