Yulia Kosulnikova (born in 1994) has never studied art in any studio and has developed her recognizable style all by herself, although it is hard to believe it, looking at her way of working with color, shape and composition, at her accurate measure of simplification of human figures. Possessor of a photographic memory, the artist captures in detail the fragments of the surrounding world that interest her and reproduces them in her graphics.
Yulia began to draw a long time ago, back in an orphanage. Noticing the artist's talent and dedication, volunteer Lyalya Tarshina began to support her with art materials. Now Kosulnikova lives in one of the psychoneurological asylums in the Leningrad region, and draws in her room every day.
Kosulnikova's works combine the rigor of composition, simplification that makes them akin to works of contemporary animation, and the accuracy of documentary photography. In her choice of subjects, Yulia remains faithful to the theme of closed institutions with their impoverished and dried up visuality, visual penury. We see hospitals, prisons, psychoneurological asylums. Wards, operating rooms, droppers, doctor's inspections. Everything she's used to. The life of institutions is presented without embellishment, in all their tedious absence of events or in moments of conflict and suffering of their inhabitants. The impeccable work with color and the simplification of human figures make these scenes tolerable and even beautiful, although it can be assumed that the artist strives not for aestheticization, but for maximum accuracy in fixing the bare life (the term of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben indicating human life reduced to biological needs in closed institutions and places of imprisonment).
In terms of accuracy and emotional intensity, these works are comparable to the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Emil Zola, or the Itinerant artists with their images of a "little man". Yulia Kosulnikova allows you to look at the life of the inhabitants of closed institutions - not even little, but ultra-little people - which until now has been hidden from the eyes of museum visitors.
Kosulnikova's works were presented by the project "Shirota & Dolgota" at the exhibitions in the Semenovskaya Library (St. Petersburg, 2017), in the Anna Akhmatova Museum (St. Petersburg, 2017), at the 4th Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art (Yekaterinburg, 2017), at the Vadim Sidur Museum (Moscow, 2019), at the Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art (Moscow, 2020) and at the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, 2020).