Maria BelovaInterdisciplinary Artist


Upcoming Shows:


Group show at Deichtorhallen Hamburg Falckenberg Collection (DE)
27 April–15 September 2024

In the gaudy and colorful installations by Austrian duo Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl, nothing is as it seems: in a mix of fashion, painting, sculpture, photography and film, they create walk-in, seductive worlds in the aesthetic of the 1970s that captivate visitors.

The exhibition will be complemented by works by students from Prof. Angela Bulloch's Time Based Media class at the HFBK and works by students from Jakob Lena Knebl's Transmedia Art class at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. In addition, works selected by the artists from the Falckenberg Collection will be on display.

About Maria Belova is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker. After earning a BA in linguistics in Moscow, Belova moved to Austria where she subsequently started her artistic practice. She has studied Transmedia-and Fine Arts in Vienna (prof. Brigitte Kowanz, Jakob Lena Knebl, University for Applied Arts) and London (Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts). Recent exhibitions and contributions took place at Kunsthalle Vienna, das weisse haus, Council Memorial Church (Konzilsgedächtniskirche), Phileas Projects, Georg Kargl Parmanent as well as through multiple performances and interventions in public spaces.

Maria’s multifaceted practice reveals a blend of performance and objecthood, where the two are in a constant state of dialogue and exchange. It is predicated on her ability to make the invisible visible, to give form to the formless, and voice to the silent. Her works, imbued with a sense of absence, explore human desire for connection and transcendence, as well as the power structures that shape and constrain those aspirations.

Education Transmedia Art (Brigitte Kowanz, Jakob Lena Knebl), University for Applied Arts Vienna, 2020–now
Fine Art (Mary Evans), Chelsea College - University of the Arts London, 2023

Art Photography (Anja Manfredi), Schule Friedl Kubelka Wien, with the teaching contributions by Elfie Semotan, Josephine Pryde, Timm Rautert & others, 2019–2020

Selected exhibitions & PerformancesPASSAGE, Falckenberg Collection Deichtorhallen Hamburg (DE), Opening: 26 April 2024
Villa Mautner Jäger, Vienna, Opening: 30 April 2024
Interspace, Galeria WY, Łódź (PL), 2024
ReA! Art Fair, Milan (IT), 2023
Figures of Imagination. Trans..., Georg Kargl Permanent, Vienna, 2022
Soft Machine, Phileas – The Austrian Office for Contemporary Art, Vienna, curated by Jakob Lena Knebl, 2022
Anti–Anti–Anti: de-visibility, unbiased biases and friends, Angewandte Festival, Vienna, curated by Mauricio Ianes de Moraes, 2022
Get It While You Can!, Never At Home, Vienna, co-curated by Maria Belova, 2022
Search for Your People, performative action with Mariya Vasilyeva, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, 2022
A shop is a shop is a shopbeta. Conceptual store, Kunsthalle, Vienna, curated by Klaus Speidel, 2022
Maria Belova: Unspoken, solo show in Konzilgedächtniskirche, Vienna, curated by Gustav Schörghofer SJ, 2021
The 8th Catholic Arts Biennial, The Verostko Center for the Arts, PA (USA), 2021
REALITY, Kunstsalon FLUC, Vienna, curated by Anna Zwingl & Brigitte Kowanz, 2021
Stille Räume, das Weisse Haus, Vienna, curated by Itai Margula, 2020
Bingo!, performative solo intervention, Belvedere 21, Vienna, 2020
Net Works, with Darja Shatalova, Kara Agora European Art & Research Center, online, curated by Julia Hartmann, 2020
Ya I Ona, performance with Darja Shatalova, in the framework of Question Me & Answer, Improper Walls, Vienna, curated by Smaranda Krings, Osama Zatar & Justina Speirokaite, 2019

Cooperation & ProjectsDigital Communications & Branding, viennacontemporary, 2021–now
Freelance art documentation & Content creator (with viennacontemporary, Phileas, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, ZAHORIAN & VAN ESPEN gallery, das weisse haus, Question Me & Answer, Improper Walls gallery, festival, multiple individual artists), 2020–now
Co-Curator, Get It While You Can!, Never At Home, Vienna (with Ganaël Dumreicher, Isolar Mesec, Felix Schellhorn, Marlene Stahl, Iris Writze), 2022

PR & Communications Responsible, A shop is a shop is a shopbeta. Conceptual store, Kunsthalle, Vienna, 2022

The Hero, 2024

    Aluminium, 28.5x28.5 cm each, all 120x120 cm

This artwork, crafted through the technique of etching—a method historically invented for decorating armory and weaponry—centers around the theme of the romanticisation of violence and the archetypal hero. Mirroring the narrative of St. George Victorious, the piece revises a classic Christian myth, questioning its standard narrative. Rather than slaying a metaphorical dragon that stands for the abstract evil, the central figure is depicted as an agent of violence against ordinary people – the real-life victims of his actions.

Encircled, he’s surrounded by words sourced from media outlets, selected for their role in glorifying the image of the soldier. They emphasize the stark contrast between the media portrayal of militaristic heroism and the harsh realities of violence and its tangible impact on real lives.

Forgiveness Without Justice Is Surrender and Weakness, 2022

    with Maria Rudakova
    Projected color high–definition video with audio 
    4:24 min, dimensions variable

Exhibition views, Forgiveness Without Justice Is Surrender and Weakness, as part of the group show “ANTI ANTI ANTI: de-visibility, unbiased biases and friends” within the framework of Angewandte Festival, 2022.

Maria Belova and Maria Rudakova’s overwhelming video piece is at once fascinating in its aesthetics and disturbing in the scenes depicted, bringing to evidence the violent contradictions and the corruption resulting of the association of religion, politics, warfare and economy in contemporary Russia. Designed using the structure of a Russian Orthodox Church altar, it shows, instead of its traditional icons, existing documental videos that, when related, bring to light the political propaganda resulting of the entanglement of the interests of the church, the government and the military forces.

– Maurício Ianês

Ritual Study, 2021–now

  • Series
  • Print on flour, pigment, salt, metal, dimensions variable

Ritual Study is a series of performative sculptures out of granulated materials which are exposing traces of people’s movements in various rituals. The artist uses her own body for exploration of various customs and lets those practices become an extension of her body. The sculptures stand inbetween material and immaterial, presence and absence, and invite a viewer to become an “investigator” of the scene, figuring a potential meaning of the action.

Ritual Study n.10, ReA! Art Fair, Milan, Italy 2023
Acid of copper, 110x70 cm
Exhibition view, Ritual Study n.10
ReA! Art Fair, Milan, Italy 2023
In the making of Ritual Study n.10,11,12, artist’s studio, 2023

In the making of Ritual Study n.10,11,12, artist’s studio, 2023
Installation view, Ritual Study #8 (to Antony G.)
Detail, Ritual Study #8 (to Antony G.) Linseed oil on paper, 240x260 cm
Exhibition view, Ritual Study #3 as part of the group show “Soft Machine” in Phileas Projects, 2022
Ritual Study #3, 2022
Color pigment on floor, 130x90 cm
Ritual Study #3, 2022
Archival pigment print, 420x594 mm
Ritual Study n.4, artist’s studio, 2022 Digital print on paper, Unicat, 220x70 cm
Ritual Study n.4, artist’s studio, 2022 Digital print on paper, Unicat, 220x70 cm
Installation view, Ritual Study #6 (Western Wall) Color pigment on paper, 200x90x50 cm
Installation view, Ritual Study #6 (Western Wall) Color pigment on paper, 200x90x50 cm
Exhibition view, Ritual Study #3 as part of the group show “Wishlist” by Okay Works, Zirkusgasse 38, 2022
Ritual Study #3, Digital print on Japanese paper, (Edition 2+1 AP), 126x74 cm

Dizziness in Dunes, 2023

    with Natasha Moreno
    Sand, salt, 4-channel sound installation, 5:14 min, dimensions variable
    Maria Belova, Ritual Study n.9 (Burial Shroud)
    Mixture of linseed oil, coal, curcuma and petroleum jelly on cotton and organza, 200x145 cm, 200x145 cm, 120x130 cm.

Transcending the physical body and transitioning to another state of consciousness is at the center of Maria Belova’s and Natasha Moreno’s absorbing installation “Dizziness in Dunes”. Drawing inspiration from the whirling practice of Sufi dervishes, the artists fill the exhibition hall with circulating sound, putting the completely still space into vertiginous motion. The sound echoes the traces of the wiped sand on the floor – evidence of the dancing performance that took place out of public view.

The installation is accompanied by “Ritual Study n.9 (Burial Shroud)” – a continuation of Belova’s Ritual series. The human body is unfolded out of its funeral cloths, layer after layer, until the person disappears, leaving behind what has forged it. Throwing off the shackles of physical embodiment, the absent figure brings a hope of liberation and a dream of a new beginning.

Unspoken, 2020/21

    4 channel sound installation, 12:02 min, dimensions variable


“Unspoken” is a sound installation consisting of 4 speakers spread in space and hidden from the viewer’s eyes. The barely audible singing is heard from them, appearing and fading away in different places, bringing the observer in a state of slight delusion. If one keeps their ears open, they would hear that that murmuring polyphony is actually praying, however appearing quite mechanical and inhuman. What seems to be a human voice first is in fact Siri, aligned and tuned to imitate chanting. The prayers she chants are taken from the online prayer walls — websites where people can post about their needs so others who come across those pleas can pray for them in response.

Maria Belova collected those posts, belonging to people of different religious backgrounds, age, social status and origin, and created a collective timeline piece — a lifespan of an abstract human being, with their requests changing from childhood to senility. Problems at school, broken hearts, health issues, spiritual quests, troubles with career, taxes and even unwanted insects in the house — all of it becomes equally relevant in this chaotic polyphony of the existence. Thus the artist emphasizes similarities that unite men and women in every quarter of the world and states: despite a common fallacy that technological development “liberates” us from being religious, people do believe like they always did and continuisly find new ways to express it.

“Search for Your People” (“Ищи Своих”), 2022

    Performative action with Mariya Vasilyeva
    5 hours
    Digital print on paper, 15x18m

Search For Your People (Ищи Своих), University of Applied Arts, Vienna, 2022. Photos: Ramiro Wong, Nick Shandra.

“Search for Your People” (“Ищи Своих”) is a name of a Telegram channel containing photos of killed and captured Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. The image of a torn apart soldier was found in that Telegram group and was then transformed into a massive puzzle with the dimensions of 15 m x 18 m. During a 5 hour performance, the puzzle was put together by the artists and passers-by, and then swept back together and burnt outside.

Watch Over Me, 2020

Street art project in Moscow
Stickers. 10x10cm

Documentation by the artist.

In traditional Russian society (later destroyed in the 20th century), icons – sacred images used in orthodox Christian devotion – were essential for every family. They were commonly situated in the corner of the room and due to the talent of their painter, those in the household would be constantly followed by the eyes of the painting’s subject throughout their daily activities. This fully corresponded to how religious consciousness was depicted at the time: a belief that something hidden from view, which has the right and power to punish for misconduct, was always watching. Thus, such icons appeared as a peculiar but effective moral regulator, encouraging socially responsible behaviour.

With industrialisation, religious consciousness then collapsed. People took power from religious institutions and transferred it to governmental ‘special services’. The need arose to apply other methods of legitimizing power which became now bureaucratic-administrative, one of them being ubiquitous surveillance. Today, introducing CCTVs into urban environments is named one of the most plausible explanations of the ‘great crime drop’. Urban environments became safer and inhabitants acted for the benefit of each other; but the freedom as we perceived in the 20th century, became lost. Overall non-loneliness, universal visibility and the fragility of human ethical choices: those are the subjects the artist raises with her work.

Introduction to Japanese Haiku, 2020/21

O snail. Climb Mount Fuji But slowly, slowly!
With a warbler for a soul, it sleeps peacefully, this mountain willow.
In lantern-light My yellow Chrysanthemums Lost all their color...

All round steel
100 W x 140 H x 100 D cm each

In the series of steel sculptures, the abstraction of the language is obtained through multiple metamorphoses of translations, bringing a Word to the state of a pure line. Taking the haikus of Matsuo Bashō, Yosa Buson and Kobayashi Issa as foundation for the pieces, Maria Belova translates them into a sign language and then captures the transient trajectories of hands into enduring metal constructions. Performative in their nature, those sculptures are carrying within them glimpses of what traditional Japanese poetry is aiming for — say more with less and seal beauty of simple things in eternity.

Bereshith (In the Beginning), 2020

Color high-definition video without sound
4:29 min, 16x9
Edit & Camera: Roland Schafek
Performer: Maria Belova

Bereshith (In the Beginning) (2020) is a one channel muted video showing a person performing what seems to be a ribbon dance. The artist is drawing trajectories which correspond to the movements of hands in sign language and so narrates the opening to the book of Genesis — the story of creation.

The word here is born ex nihilo in front of the viewer’s eyes. No sound is disturbing the observer bringing them into meditative state of pure contemplation. The vast red ribbons are dominating over a dancer, stating the supremacy of the universal consciousness over a human mind but still being inextricably linked to each other.

Bereshith merges human consciousness, language and Logos into oneness.