Julia Kissina was born in 1966 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, and studied scriptwriting at the film school in Moscow. In 1990 she moved to Germany, where she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.
She is a member of the Moscow Conceptualism movement and one of the most popular authors of Russian avant-garde literature. During the 1980s and 1990s she was a regular contributor to two of the most important intellectual journals in Russia, »Obscuri viri« in Moscow and »Mitin Journal« in St Petersburg.
Her début »Of the Dove’s Flight Over the Mud of Phobia« (1992), despite its small print run, became a cult hit of in the underground Samizdat movement. Kissina’s poetry and prose subsequently appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the much-translated anthology of modern Russian literature, »Russian Flowers of Evil« (1997). Her first collection of stories in German »Vergiss Tarantino« (tr: Forget Tarantino) was published in 2005; the same year her children’s book »Milin und der Zauberstift« (tr: Milin and the Magic Pen) appeared. Her style is characterized by whimsical humor, precise observations and a distinct feeling for bizarre situations. An essential theme of her work is »civilization and its discontents«. Despite intertextual experiments with words and subjects, she is an excellent storyteller. Her »auto-fictional« novel »Frühling auf dem Mond« (2013, tr: Springtime on the Moon) tells of her childhood in 1970s Kiev, and the tragic events that unfold between surreal perception and bureaucratic despotism. An autobiographical vein also runs through the novel »Elephantinas Moskauer Jahre« (2016, tr: Elephantina’s Moscow Years), in which the title character – yearning for true poetry – moves to Moscow to explore the depths of the artistic underground.
Julia Kissina is also known as a visual artist, and devoted herself to conceptual photography in the 1990s. In 2000, Julia Kissina herded an actual flock of sheep into the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt as part of a performance, and co-curated the Art & Crime Festival at the Hebbel Theater, Berlin, in 2003. She also performed in a German prison. In 2006 she created The Dead Artist’s Society, which held séances to conduct »Dialogues with Classic Artists« such as Duchamp and Malevich. Julia Kissina lives in Berlin and in New York.