Julie Poly (real name Yulia Polyashchenko) was originally from Stakhanov, Lugansk region, but was raised in Kharkiv, which greatly influenced her practice. Until the Russian invasion, the artist worked and lived in Kyiv. Now she is based in Berlin.

Julie Poly's art education started in Kharkiv city with small groups of young artists, art initiatives, and inspiration from the Kharkiv School of Photography. The artist took her first pictures at the "Kinnyi Market" in Kharkiv. Primarily she was interested in raw documentary photography, but in 2013 she started to work with fashion which appeals to staged pictures. As a result, Poly's portfolio lists commissions for local fashion magazines (Vogue, L'Officiel, Harper's Bazaar) and international art publications such as Dazed & Confused, i-D, NUMERO and Jalouse. In 2021, Julie created an erotic art zine called 'Hrishnytsia', where she researches and collects artists who work with erotica in Ukraine in various genres and mediums. Zin focuses on eroticism in Ukraine and its presentation in the modern world. The main characters and contributors of the publication are Ukrainian artists who raise issues of sexuality, self-discovery, gender, and intimacy within their practice.

Artist's practice merges her previous experience in documentary and staged photography. The photographer interprets cultural and visual codes of typical Ukrainian everyday life, predominantly in eroticism, fashion, and novel notions of beauty. The artist states that she is constantly inspired by "trivial things, everyday events, stories from friends' lives, and own experience".

Julie Poly's exhibitions serve as a continuation of her artistic message. Her 'mockumentarian' and slightly grotesque projects often come back to the areas of their genesis, like railway station (Ukrzaliznytsia series) or arcade centres (Kosmolot playing cards). The last one also appeals to an installation method — every solo show of Julie Poly you see always works with you as a holistic performative statement.


Kyiv, Ukraine