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Svitlana Selezneva

Svitlana Selezneva

area: Fine Arts

Key Facts




Fine Arts



recommending institution

frei_raum Q21 exhibition space

time period

June 2018 - July 2018

Svitlana Selezneva is an artist and designer from Kyiv who works with different textile techniques: sewing, quilting and bead embroidery. One of her important directions in work is bead jewellery. After finishing an art college in 1986, Svitlana was working as a restorer in the museum “Kyiv picture gallery” and as dressmaker during the 90-s. Later, she worked as an assistant of different fashion designer's, what influenced her to begin her own practice in textile design. The project “Diploma thesis” is the first collaboration of Svitlana and artist and her daughter Dariia Kuzmych. This work is an experiment-practice, which is discovering the problem of rush and dramatic changes in the society and it influences on life and work of people, using the autobiographic context.


Times of transition from one political system to another, economic crises or changes in technologies often cause mass unemployment as well as economic and personal insecurity for many people, who lose any prospects of professional development.
One such transition was the collapse of the Soviet Union. The most unstable aspect of life for the people of the former Soviet Republics became a job. With the collapse of the state and thus also the professions specific to its institutions and factories, the majority of academics, engineers, and other professionals were forced to work as “tchelnok” (shuttle traders), reselling cheap goods from China.
I was born exactly in the year of the Soviet Union's collapse and experienced the effects of this global historical change on the life of my parents. After finishing Art and Design college, my mother Svitlana gave birth to two children and became a self-taught dressmaker to survive, whilst my father worked as a shuttle trader. A lack of quality clothes shops in Kyiv for some time was fortunate for such business, but nonetheless, further changes in the market meant it wasn't viable anymore. Similar “breaks” and new professional beginnings became ordinary for my mother. After her children grew up, she began her first artistic work – making handmade necklaces, and after some years, working with quilting techniques, which she uses to produce images.
In collaboration with Svitlana, we are exploring the conflict between a particular person's professional history and the sudden social changes which occur during unstable political or economic periods.

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