Shibari Project of the Ukrainian Sculptor Alika Malonog
21 maart 2022 
24 min. read

Shibari Project of the Ukrainian Sculptor Alika Malonog

Since all articles published after February 24 til this one were written in advance before the beginning of the war, you may suspect that we (particularly, the Russian author who writes these words) ignore the situation, which is untrue. The happening events urged us to pay close attention to Ukrainian artists, such as Alika Malonog, Vladimir Sai, and others. 

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 Alika Malonog

Fig. 1. Alika Malonog with her works. 

Transcultural Art

Alika Malonog is a Ukrainian sculptor educated as a psychologist and attaining degree in arts. She takes part in different exhibitions and projects. In 2016, she organized an exhibition for blind kids in the Kyiv zoo. Alika imitated animals' footprints and created small figurines for children to be able to learn about fauna. In her Instagram, Alika describes herself as a "sculptor, creator, and traveler". There you can watch her journeys and works. The topic of her photographs and ceramic art is nature. As she says, "my sculptures allow me to communicate with the whole world in various languages. My art is transcultural. There is a piece of me in every work". 

 Alika Malonog sculptor

Fig. 2. A work and and a model.

Love, War, and Quarantine

Alika Malonog created the Shibari series in 2020 during the quarantine. As known, the shibari technique originates from Hojōjutsu, the art of binding a war prisoner, which, unfortunately, resonates with today's reality. According to Wikipedia, binding as a fetish termed kinbaku emerged at the beginning of the XXth century and was popularized by the Japanese painter Seiu Ito (1882-1961). Shibari is a term under which kinbaku became widely known in the West since the 1990s. As can be seen from the images, Alika performs the shibari topic in two ways: traditional black and white ceramic mini-sculptures decorated with ropes, and white torsos created with 3d printing technique. Bounded female figures are also depicted on several ceramic plates. 

 Alika Malonog shibari mannequin

Fig. 3. Shibari mannequin.

  Alika Malonog two shibari mannequins

Fig. 4. Two shibari mannequins

 two shibari mannequins Alika Malonog

Fig. 5. Two shibari mannequins.

 Alika Malonog Shibari mannequin with a cube construction

Fig. 6. Shibari mannequin with a cube construction.

 Alika Malonog ukranian artist

Fig. 7. Bound mini-sculptures.

 Alika Malonog Ceramic plate with shibari motif

Fig. 8. Ceramic plate with shibari motif. 

 Ceramic plate with shibari motif Alika Malonog

Fig. 9. Ceramic plate with shibari motif. 

 shibari Alika Malonog

Fig. 10 Ceramic plate with shibari motif. 

 Alika Malonog Shibari mini-figure

Fig. 11. Shibari mini-figure

 Alika Malonog  Shibari black and white figures

Fig. 12. Shibari black and white figures

 Alika Malonog

Fig. 13. Composition with three figures

 Alika Malonog The white figure, front view

Fig. 14. The white figure, front view. 

 Alika Malonog The shibari fugure lying on the coral

Fig. 15. The shibari figure lying on the coral.

 Alika Malonog The shibari fugure lying

Fig. 16. The shibari figure lying on a coral.

 Alika Malonog shibari figures

Fig. 17. Two shibari figures.

 Eikoh Hosoe “Embrace” series

Fig. 18. Eikoh Hosoe “Embrace” series (tokinowasuremono.com)

 Eikoh Hosoe “Embrace”

Fig. 18a. Eikoh Hosoe “Embrace” series (tokinowasuremono.com)

A Reminder of The Embrace

There are at least two statements that can be read in the Shibari series. The first is that lovemaking becomes a natural way for a couple to kill time staying at the quarantine. Bored people start practicing things they haven't had resources for. The second notion is the feeling of being imprisoned or fixed. As Alika says, "During the quarantine, many people feel bound. On the one hand, it's a limitation; on the other hand, it opens new channels of perception, so the development begins." The combination of black and white sculptures contrasting with each other in some images brings to mind the Embrace series created by Japanese photographer Eikoh Hosoe in 1971 (fig. 17). 

 Alika Malonog Lying figure from the back

Fig. 19. Lying figure from the back.

 La Venus d'Ermenonville series by Hans Bellmer

Fig. 20. La Venus d'Ermenonville series by Hans Bellmer, 1958 (brooklynrail.org)

United By Masochism

Other ceramic shibari models can be associated with the La Venus d'Ermenonville series by Hans Bellmer, 1958 (fig. 19). Sculptures "dressed" in ropes show us a peculiar combination of Greek and Japanese cultures, East and West. Ancient marble deities seem to truly enter la belle epoque of masochism, so we see how fragmented Venus changed her furs to ropes. As known, gods not only like torturing other creatures but often torture themselves, for example, to get knowledge. They suffer physical pain or even turn into mortals, this feature connects pagan cults with Christianity. The models created with the usage of 3d printing are also curious to watch because their bodies are made of winding thread. Technically, their bodies are "ropes," which leads us to the gnostic idea of the flesh as a prison for the soul. Our organisms, indeed, look like sophisticated shibari variations with the tangle of muscles and veins. At the same time, this prison can be a source of pleasure, just like the Japanese technique of binding a prisoner. 

 Three figures made in 3d printing technique

Fig. 21. Three figures made in 3d printing technique.

  Alika Malonog A closer view

Fig. 22. A closer view

 Alika Malonog A view from behind

Fig. 23. View from behind

 Alika Malonog sideway view

Fig. 24. Sideway view

 Sideway view Alika Malonog

Fig. 25. Sideway view

 Alika Malonog  top view sculpture

Fig. 26. Top view 

Sources: all images except for where is mentioned are taken from https://www.instagram.com/alika_ceramica/

Click HERE for an article on the aesthetics of the interaction of male and female bodies in works of Eikoh Hosoe....!!


About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
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