Svetlana Kopystiansky was born in Voronezh, Russia. Before her immigration to New York in 1988 she was a dissident artist in the former Soviet Union. In 1990 she came to Berlin as a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme together with Igor Kopystiansky.
Individual works by Svetlana Kopystiansky in the media of sculpture, installation and painting, as well as her collaborative works with Igor Kopystiansky in the media of film and video have been represented in permanent collections worldwide, i.a. in the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.), Musée National d'Art Moderne (Paris), Tate Modern (London), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), MMK Frankfurt am Main, mumok (Vienna), Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), FRAC Corse (Corsica), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Ludwig Forum for International Art (Aachen), Berlinische Galerie, Muzeum Sztuki Łódź, MOCAK (Krakow), Art Institute of Chicago, Center for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci (Prato), and the National National Museum of Lithuania (Vilnius).
Art works by Svetlana Kopystiansky were exhibited widely internationally at important museums in Western Europe, the USA, Australia, and at international exhibitions, including Sculpture Projects Münster in 1997, documenta 11, Biennale of Sydney 1992, International Istanbul Biennial 1995, Johannesburg Biennial 1997, Biennal of Contemporary Art of Lyon 1997, Liverpool Biennial 1999.