From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Oleg Kulik (b. 1963)is a Ukrainian performance artist, sculptor, photographer and curator. Kuliks creates a symbolic set of parameters, which define the environment the dog-personae will inhabit and then devise a series of actions that unfold as a response. The artist describes the dialogue within his practice as “a conscious falling out of the human horizon” which places him on hands and knees. His intention is to describe what he sees as a crisis of contemporary culture, a result of an overly refined cultural language that leads to barriers between individuals. Thus, he simplifies his performance language to the basic emotive of a domestic animal.
At the Interpol group exhibition in Stockholm in 1996, he performed in the gallery chained next to a sign labelled ‘dangerous’. An international scandal occurred when he not only attacked members of the public who chose to ignore the sign, in one case biting a man, but also attacked other artworks within the exhibition, partially destroying some pieces. For Kulik this was an excusable act, as there was a warning label attached to his performance that people chose to disregard. His intention was to divulge his angst of the current cultural crisis through the violent anger of a dog.
Artist Susan Silas wrote "A Love Letter to Oleg Kulik, A Prince among Men, a Man among Dogs". She describes visiting Kulik during his performance of "I Bite America and America Bites Me" where Kulik references Joseph Beuys with an updated reference to the current cultural setting of America. Again, Kulik performed as a dog, this time in a specially built cage, where the spectator would come in wearing protective garb.
Recent Retrospective: "Oleg Kulik: Chronicle. 1987-2007" at the Central House of Artists, Moscow