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Maria Bilyan


Fragments of Melancholy and Joy

So often my body is the only flesh I can touch or see and my mind is the only companion I have. For some, loneliness can be as scary as darkness, yet the depth and beauty of darkness can be seen only when we are lonely. By turning a camera onto myself I not only embrace my solitude, but also become a hunter of my own identity. I use my body to express the ambivalence between melancholy and the joy of human existence. My body becomes an instrument through which I show all the ambiguities it encloses; beauty and ugliness, pleasure and pain, desire and disgust.

Maria Bilyan



I was born in 1986 in Ternopil/Ukraine. From the age of 15 I studied piano at the local music college. After finishing the college I moved to Lviv/Ukraine, where I studied history and theory of culture in the State University. In my thesis I explored the phenomenon of cultural marginality and the particularities of Soviet gender ideology.

In 2012 I moved to Vienna where I began to learn analogue photography. From 2014 until 2016 I studied photography in Central Saint Martin’s College, London. For a couple of years I was experimenting with different media, yet photography has remained my primary obsession. Currently I am based in London.

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