Eva Ostrowska (b.1989) is a French-Ukrainian visual artist whose work offers critiques of social dynamics and romantic relationships. Whether it is her striking self-portraits or her naive knitted costumes, Ostrowska’s commentary on femininity and female agency is raw and unapologetic. Her impactful performances and humorous tapestries examine love and betrayal as traumatic experiences that still retain elements of self-derision.
A self-described “observer of modern love issues”, Ostrowska often uses her own body to explore power dynamics in romantic situations. Her decision to marry herself, as a celebration of self-victory following her fiancé’s infidelity, forms the basis of The Happiest Day of My Life (2016): one of three works of colour photography and performance which were eventually collected as artist books. The other two projects explore darker themes of obsession, submission and violence: in My Petite Chérie (2016) the artist is being dragged through mud to illustrate a dark love story, while You Are Mine (2016) documents the final moments of a failing relationship.
Her textile work also explores insecurities and betrayal, this time through the lens of dating apps and digital technology. Ostrowska combines this modern context with the use of wool as her main material, a choice informed by the fact this particular medium is traditionally associated with disruption and female figures -- for instance the antique myths of Penelope, Arachne and Ariane. She consciously mirrors this use of yarn, making it the narrative thread through which she tells those modern love stories, like the series Woolmances which is titled after the ‘wool’ and ‘romance’.
Born in Paris, Ostrowska holds two Masters in Fine Art from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, and the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. Initially interested in painting, she abandoned the medium for performance and photography; her work as a freelance photographer has taken her to countries around the world, including several years in the United States. Her work has been featured in international publications and has been exhibited internationally; it is held in public and private collections around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.
Started in 2019, Woolmances features vignettes of characters in naive, brightly coloured knitted costumes, staging domestic scenes of infidelity, divorce or solo parenting. The scenes are funny and irreverent, underpinned by the contrast between the soft, cosy wool and the brutality of the situations depicted.
Her distinctive blend of playfulness and stark honesty is also apparent in her tapestries. Illustrating ghosting text messages, WhatsApp texts and Instagram DMs (You only need one person to believe in you, 2020; I am not the only one wondering…, 2019), the works suggest a vision of femininity and modern loneliness, with inherent insecurities that are rooted in dating apps and modern means of communication.
The New York Times, The private collection of the Museum of Modern Art of New York, The Franklin Furnace Archives, Aesthetica Magazine, The Archive Collective Magazine - Best of our open curation board, Phroom Magazine, Cprint Magazine, C-41 Magazine, Soundvision Magazine, Badbooks ltd, RGSP Magazine, Switch Magazine, Blasfemia Magazine, Cobblescope, Springtide magazine, Times Out New York, Czech Online, The United Nations Press, The Japan Foundation, The Curator Choice, Underdogs, Love Zine, New Blaze, The Village Voice, The Lincoln Center, The Jan Hus Playhouse, Soundvision Mag, Closer, M6 TV, Metronews, LCI, The New Harlem Theater, The Gotham Comedy Club, La MaMa, Art &...
The Happiest Day of My Life, self-published book, Paris, 2019
Switch, Issue 56, quarterly magazine, by Switch Magazine, Italy, 2019.
Underdogs, Issue 16, collective publication, by Underdogs, Paris, 2018.
Screenshot, Issue 03, bi-annual, collective publication, by ScreenShot Magazine, London, 2018.
Lovely Head, Collective book publication published by Soundvision Magazine, London, 2016.
Ma Petite Chérie, self-published book, Bilbao, 2016.
You are Mine, zine published by Badbooks ltd editions, New York City, 2016.
The Social Life of the Book, collective publication with Oscar Thuazon, EBABX, Bordeaux, 2012.
Ma Petite Chérie has been Shortlisted for the Anamorphosis Prize, New York, USA, 2016.
Photo of the week by Times Out New York Magazine, USA, 2012.
Exhibitions, fairs, residencies
Zapping the Archive, Getxophoto International Images Festival, Bilbao, Curated by Giangiacomo Cirla and Elena Rebecca Rivolta, September 2020.
Ashes of Our Love, Jiangxi province, China, January 2019.
Cold Cases, group show, Photo Fringe at the Brighton Biennale 2018, England, September 2018.
Wild Within, group show, Guest Projects, London, England, July 2018.
Chile Atacama Desert art residency, La Wayaka Current, Chile, November 2017.
ST Petersburg Photobook show, Taiga studio, Russia, August 2017.
Brighton Photobook show, Brighton Studio, England, April 2017.
New York Art Book Fair, Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York City, USA, 2016.
Independent Art Book Fair, Greenpoint terminal, Brooklyn, New York City, USA, 2016.
Austin Press Fest, in Texas City, USA 2016.
Iceland Reykjavik, video residency, Iceland 2013.
Residency Mexico, with Joseph Kurhajec at Yucatan, Mexico 2012.
Sento-Kun, Kyoto residency M.G.K, Nakagyu-ku, Japan 2012.
Dourovnaya Russia, site-specific installation, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Russia 2012.
Buy What Love 2012, The Rema Hort Mann Group Show at The Hole Gallery New York City.
Effugio Running, as a participant at Performa’s Fluxus Weekend, Luhring Augustine Gallery 2012.
NYC.Free Live Psychic Reading, at Occupy Wall Street, Zuccotti Park, New York City 2011.
Master Degree in Fine Arts (M.A.V.I), Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne University, France.
Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne University, France.
D.N.S.E.P Master Degree 1, Ecole des Beaux Arts de Bordeaux, France.
D.N.A.P Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts, Ecole des Beaux Arts de Bordeaux, France.