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Garden of Living Sculptures Collection.
Photograph by Oleksandr Lypsky.
Some biographical facts: 
1978-1984 – studies at Kyiv Arts Institute.
1986-1988 – post-graduate studies in Moscow.
1993; 1996; 1997 – studies in Paris (C.I.E.S., CREDAC, Cite Internationale des Arts).
1997 – work in the USA and in 1998 in Canada.
Personal exhibitions: 
1988, 1993, 1995 in Kyiv, Ukraine;
1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 in Paris, France;
1997 in Baltimore and New York, USA. 
Also exhibitions with other artists in Moscow, Munich, Zagreb, New York and other places.
“ I was wearing light-coloured and funny looking leather outfit when Pierre Cardin handed me my award. My outfit caught his eye, he looked interested. I’m working in several fields: performance, video, photography, and fashions, of course.”
Oksana Chepelyk

"Contemporary mysteries' are reflections of the developing modern ideas: the images of Oksana Chepelyk's exhibition in Paris appear today in the sphere of the Ukrainian-French cultural interaction where East and West meet. Here we find an interaction of genres and styles. It is a true manifestation of the present-day geo-aesthetics, or the aesthetics in action."
Pierre Cardin

"For a long time Ukraine was a borderland between East and West Today we are all living through the experience of the end of the millennium, which is a moment of trial for all the mankind. The search for synthetical approach to the arts, provoking interactions in the related artistic actions - it is my contribution to the European geopolitical field, to the integration of Ukrainian art into the European cultural space."
Oksana Chepelyk

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Oksana Chepelyk receiving 
Pierre Cardin's Grand Prix. 1996.
Photograph by Victor Pyensky.
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Stills from Leader’s Favourite Toys video film. 1998.

Oksana Chepelyk believes that art should have a primarily communicative function with the edifying function being of secondary importance. “In our epoch, the communicative function of art is the most important one,” she says. Her film Leader’s Favourite Toys was recently shown at a film festival in Kyiv (Open Night. Take 3 film festival).
The music for the film was written by Anders Mansson, a Swede living in Germany, and the photography was by Creg Lewis, a Canadian.
Some help in making the film was provided by the BANFF Centre, Canada. At the festival in Kyiv the film was awarded a prize. Chepelyk also collected prizes and awards for it in the USA, Germany, Italy. 

Leader’s Favourite Toys probes into the nature of totalitarianism, with Oksana Chepelyk transforming, with the help of makeup and wigs, right before the eyes of the viewers into different characters.
At fashions contests Oksana Chepelyk was awarded several prizes, among them in the Shock of the Season nomination at the Magic Needle’95, at the Alta Moda’96 (Pierre Cardin’s Grand Prix). In her latest “performance,” called The Garden of Living Sculptures, she paid homage to the Greek culture. Her collections of dresses include very unusual garments shaped like snails, human lips. She says that for such transformations she is inspired by seashells.
She has made a video film about the first sexual experience of people from different countries. At an exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, USA, among whose participants were Kabakov, Komarov-Melamed, Oksana Chepelyk showed her “installation” called The Evident Unavoidable, at which the viewers could see the display of video images and listen at the same time to the audio texts in English and in Ukrainian (http://artnetgallery.com/artists/Chepelyk.htm or http://www.moma.org./onlineprojects/Internyet/f-artists.html). She took this installation also to Zagreb, Croatia (it was exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art) and was invited to show it at several other places. 
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Garden of Living Sculptures Collection.
Photograph by Oleksandr Lypsky.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, she is working at an artistic project jointly with the Goethe Institute in Kyiv (E-mail: c-chep@cca.kiev.ua).
Oksana Chepelyk is a rebel by nature. She likes experimenting with ideas and with expressions of these ideas. Even the things she wears reflect her rebellious nature (at artistic gatherings, for example, she likes to appear in a straw hat and bast shoes). She usually wears an outfit that combines an article from "the grandma’s wardrobe" with the most fashionable garment.
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Birds of Venus Collection.
Photograph by Oleksandr Lypsky.
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Birds of Paradize Collection.
Photograph by Oleksandr Lypsky.
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The Creation. 1996. Oil on canvas.

Heorhiy-Hryhoriy Pylypenko, a Welcome to Ukraine correspondent, talked to Oksana Chepelyk and what follows is some of the things that were said.
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Birth of Venus Collection.
Photograph by Oleksandr Lypsky.
WU: Brigitte Bardot once said that she dresses for men. What’s your attitude to what a woman should wear? What does her sweetheart want her to wear? What does her whim tell her to put on? What do the current fashions demand?
Chepelyk: Oh, it depends on many things. On your mood, on the situation, on your figure, on the image you want to create. Too many to mention all of them.
WU: When you create new dresses what gets the upper hand: the cool attitudes of a professional or temperamental approaches of a woman? Do you wear the dresses that you design yourself ?
Chepelyk: Well, sometimes I wear dresses designed by myself, but not too often. Chepelyk should not advertise Chepelyk’s dresses. My creativity stays in my heart and should not be necessarily displayed on my body. I like Mugler. But being a great designer, he is too much a showman. I’ve some things from Kookai boutique, designed for the young. I’ve got some things from Cardin.
WU: Some of the outfits of your design require almost naked appearances on the catwalk. Do you have any problems with that?
Chepelyk: Not really. In most cases, my models are prepared to appear on the catwalk the way I want them to appear, but during one of the shows one of the models did refuse to walk out, probably because there was someone in the hall before whom she didn’t want to appear in that very open outfit.But I found a substitute who believed that to appear naked, or almost naked in public is just something that a model should be expected to do and there was no moral aspect in it. Besides she was not completely naked. The outfit was made of transparent plastic, cube-shaped, highlighted with the colours of the sea, and Paco Raban later said that she looked as though wading through the waves.
WU: Yes, I know that he also mentioned, after your show in Riga, Latvia (the show was called: The Story Told by Schlieman to Francis I about the Astral Connection of Nefertiti with Helen of Troy), that Chepelyk dressed her models in the waves of the ether. I wonder, is your husband in any way involved in your shows?
Chepelyk: He helps me to realize my projects, he takes care of the technical aspect, so to say.
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Birth of Venus Collection.
Photograph by Anatoliy Fedirtsev.
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Get on the Swing, All of you!
1996. Oil on canvas.

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The prize given  to Oksana Chepelyk for her Leader’s Favourite Toys video film “for the intelligent cinematic re-invention of an intense performance” at the 50th International Festival  of Short Films in Montecatini (Italy).

WU: One might compare you to Madonna in the sense that you are helping women get rid of the old stereotypes and inhibiting complexes, and feel free to do whatever they please.
Chepelyk: I don't like such comparisons but I have to admit that what’s accepted, say, in France and in the USA is not always accepted here as far as the creativity of women is concerned. Our mass media often call my creations "shocking" or "openly erotic." I’m not doing anything for the purpose of shocking the public morals. I’m a professional, I create my art not to change the Ukrainian mentality but to make an artistic statement. Any art should be assessed by its own merits.
WU: But is there anything that you are aiming to achieve?
Chepelyk: Good results. I’m looking for things new in things well known – in the human body, in the human soul or in the human product.Oksana Chepelyk thinks it has been a good year for her so far. According to some Oriental calendar, it is the Year of the Cat. She likes cats, and there is something feline in her. Gentleness, delicacy, and at the same time confidence, strength. She is a cat that walks all by herself. By her creations, inspired by the artistic achievements and experience of the end of the millennium, she ennobles, as they used to say at the beginning of this century, the animal part of the human nature that is so difficult to tame.
WU: There is something feline in you. Do you like cats?
Chepelyk: I do. The cat is a sort of a catalyst for Good to manifest itself. This pet teaches you how to respect somebody else’s freedom, to avoid bullying and at the same time reminds you that we are not completely tamed.

P.S. This September Oksana Chepelyk is planning to show her project Contemporary Mysteries II at Espac Cardin within the framework of the Days of Ukrainian Culture in Paris.

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