Porcelain Pop Art by Oksana Zhnikrup

Exclusive by Ukrainian Art Library



Jeff Koons feat. Oksana Zhnikrup

In 2017, a scandal in the artistic world arose: Jeff Koons’s “Ballerina Sitting” sculpture, set up on May 12 near Rockefeller Center in New York,is a copy of the work of the Ukrainian craftswoman Oksana Zhnikrup (1931-1993). Later it became clear that the American artist since 2010 has had the official permission to use two Oksana’s works: “Ballerinas before the performance” (1961) and “Ballerina Lenochka” (1974) (on the basis of which he created his “Ballerina”).

Who is Oksana Zhnikrup? Ukrainian women by nationality, although she was born in Chita (town in Russia). Her mother was an actress, her father was a public servant, who was executed in 1932 charged with espionage. The family of Zhnikrup was forbidden to live in Kyiv, and Oksana studied in Odessa Art School. In 1952-1954 she worked at Baranovsky Porcelain Factory (Zhytomyr Region), and from 1955 to 1989 in Experimental Ceramic and Artistic Plant in Kyiv. It was there where the original style of the artist was formed and the best of her porcelain figurines were created. Zhnikrup preferred lyrical themes. She was close to the world of ballet, dance, circus.

Oksana Zhnikrup was one of those sculptors of small forms, whose creativity determined the level of porcelain plastics in Ukraine in the second half of the XX century. Her works have often participated in the international exhibitions. Oksana was an artist of sophisticated taste, she enjoyed jazz and Sergiy Parajanov was among her friends.The grandson of the artist Maxim Lozovy, states that, in the Soviet reality, her grandmother’s talent had no chance to be realized completely. “Jeff Koons’ version of her work would make her smile,” says Lozovy. “She had an extraordinary sense of humor.”

The purpose of the special project of the Library of Ukrainian Art is to get acquainted with the work of Zhnikrup, to show not only her big circulation copies of statuettes, which still can be found in each second sideboard, but rare, collection works of the sculptor.

Porcelain by Oksana Zhnikrup