Two other subjects take a central stage in Zinaida's work. One related to the passing of time, aging and memory, closely linked to resurrection motifs and a symbolic rebirth. A poetic reflection of time is reflected on her meditative installations, ascetic video projects, music and sound performances, and sculptural creations. The other aspect is associated with the mastery of fashion, which she uses as a representative instrument to carry out her ideas. Her fashion design is based on the mise-en-scène of the duality between ethnic elements in a modern context that often reference traditional Ukrainian costumes: their cut, color palette, embroideries and fabrics, keeping natural and fluid silhouettes.
Her artwork is founded on subjects, images, and traditional techniques of her country, which she fits in the limits of contemporary art with greet skill. She pays close attention to the impressions on the fabric: they are reinterpretations of ancient ornaments, Kiev's architectural elements. Shevchenko's paintings, etc.
The female figure, so frequent in your work, is imposed harmoniously and tenaciously in a great duality. I wanted to know about your interest on the female world, what attracts you about it and what does it offer?
The idea of the female, which I explore in my work, is a materialization of a life mission, the ability to create, give birth and transform. Women, in my opinion, belong to two worlds: a real world and a mythological one; the earthly and the spiritual. And that is what I explore: that belonging. I take inspiration from Ukrainian culture, the expertise of traditional craftsmen, folklore and ethnographic discoveries.
On the subject of the female figure, what do you consider to be the role of women, both in your work and in society?
I mainly see culture through the prism of female activity. According to Ukrainian tradition, women have a fundamental role: we have a historically established matriarchy, where women contribute to society both publicly and consciously. On the other hand, I can't deny that women's roles in society have changed, we now have more freedom to choose our own path and make our own decisions, without the constraints of previously established conventions that forced us to fulfill the duty of becoming mothers.
Regarding the art world, there has been a large number of female artists through history, but they haven't had the attention they deserved. Do you think that this has changed? Are there any female references that have influenced your career?
Female artists throughout the world had to sacrifice their position as artists: there couldn't be any children or family without them. For instance, Louise Bourgeois became an artist in her sixties after her husband had already passed away and her children were grown. It was the same for Agnes Martin; society and its beliefs stopped the artistic projections of women, who were cast aside to do what ought to be done. However, this has changed. It's now possible to say that the contemporary woman can do both, be an artist and have a family. Some of the female artists that have greatly influenced me, besides the ones I already mentioned, are Shirin Neshat with her ideas on drama, power and female fragility, and political and spiritual controversies. Annette Messager with her sensual intelligence. And of course, Marina Abramovic, my guiding star, my guru...
We see scenes of mythological and archaic characters in your work. However, they are constructed using new technologies, which gives them a closer and more real nature. I would like to know your opinion on the tension created between the old and the new.
It's not about a tension, it's all about harmonizing the old and the new.
I use technology to express, it helps me be more communicative. Technology is only the tool that allows me to voice the message. Research about the history of human beings and their complexity has several edges, which can be appreciated in my work.
Your research work is associated with anthropological issues, especially what Lévi-Strauss stated about distinguishing a society's behavior through its culture, behavior, linguistic structure and the myths of the existence of the common patterns of all human life. Do you think this is a central line to the process?
The idea comes from something simple, I go to the town, I live there and I seek unique traditional things, I translate them into my language and that is how I create my pieces. I build my own mythology, based on my experience. Why do I work with Ukrainian culture and tradition? I'm a Ukrainian woman, that is my background and by exploring it I explore myself. I understand myself better with every piece I create. I think this is very important. AAL