About Zhanna Kadyrova

Zhanna Kadyrova is one of Ukraine’s most famous artists. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, she has worked non-stop to portray the new reality of the Ukrainian people.


Zhanna Kadyrova was born in 1981 in Brovary in the Kyiv region of Ukraine. She currently lives and works in Kyiv. Kadyrova has had great success nationally and internationally, participating in biennials and individual and group exhibitions in about 15 countries. In 2019, Kadyrova partici¬pated in the curated part of the Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times. She has also represented Ukraine in the Biennale in 2013. Since Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022, Zhanna Kadydyrova's art has focused on the effects of war. At this time, she also started working on the humanitarian project Palianytsia. Daily Bread was the artist's first major retrospective, which took place in 2023 at the Hannover Kunstverein. In the same year, the solo exhibition Flying Trajectories was shown at the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv.

Artistic expression

Zhanna Kadyrova works with numerous mediums – such as performance, photography, drawing, painting, and sculpture – and focuses on the exhibition site and space. She is most known for her sculptural work and experimentation with forms, materials, and meaning. Kadyrova’s art can be described as contextual minimalism and is characterized by post-Soviet design. Kadyrova often uses ceramic tiles - which were widely used in Soviet Ukraine as a decorative material - for mosaics, combined with heavyweight construction materials such as concrete and cement. Kadyrova's work with ceramic tiles in mosaic designs alludes to Soviet monumental decorative art and propaganda campaigns.

Previous projects

The Second-Hand series began in 2014 and is dedicated to the fate of pre-industrial and non-public buildings, which received new functions and owners in a post-socialist society. Kadyrova uses cement and ceramic tiles to create ob¬jects that resemble clothes on hangers. Original tiles patterns used to decorate building facades and interiors have been transferred to the objects. With impacts in Brazil, Cuba, and Italy, the project has also come to include a diversity of narratives around gentrification and urban memory.

In the project Market (2017–2019), Kadyrova performs at art fairs, where she sells sets of goods made of concrete, ceramic tiles, and natural stone. This is a site-specific installation related to the context of an art fair as a place for market relations. Kadyrova challenged the art market's rules for pricing art objects by selling her work by weight (1 gram = 1 euro). The price per gram corresponds to the local currency of the country where the Market exhibition is currently taking place.

Kadyrova also founded and participated in the collective project "R.E.P." (Revolution Experimental Space), created in late 2004 during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. The project drew attention to several issues symptomatic of the state of Ukrainian society and put them in a global perspective.

Education and awards

Zhanna Kadyrova graduated from the sculpture department at the Taras Shevchenko State Art School in Kyiv in 1999. Since then, Kadyrova has received several awards, including the Kazimir Malevich Prize and the Grand Prix of the Kyiv Sculpture Project (both in 2012) and the Special Prize of Future Generation Art Prize (2014).