Photomontages based on archival movie magazines. An ongoing project.
Beautiful Aliens – beware of their unearthly, mesmerizing beauty. Mirella surprises the viewer with her new project, although those who just like me follow her art closely, will undoubtedly recognise which universe these fascinating, curiously seductive creatures come from. Her previous series Eutopia is, in my opinion, an important bridge between this set of photomontages and her previous photographs and dioramas. However, while Mirella’s works created during the past decade can be described as utterly idyllic, here we are faced with a rather strange side of beauty – the beauty that is delightfully but mercilessly deformed – a truly bizarre one.
If I were to describe these images in a couple of words I would say that we are dealing here with Sentimental Surrealism. Goddesses and divas from yellowed covers of vintage movie magazines are transmuting into stars from forgotten, parallel future and this is by no means a trivial yet cute retrofuturism. There is not the slightest shade of naivety or condescension here. Perfect in their unique way, various creatures are distilled from dust with their flexible bodies bearing glorious metallic shine. These creatures are neither ominous necroid xenomorphs, nor sexy, green-skinned, and purple-haired Venusians. I am convinced by their uniqueness as they are neither scary nor domesticated – they are basically different and beautiful in their own way. They trespass the boundaries between the human and the non-human. In her laboratory in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, Mirella crosses women with anemones. Their faces are budding like polyps living in the coral reef. Some of her girls look like living ammonites while the faces of others resemble segmented armours of chrysalids from the genus Mechanitis. Yet, none of them lose their charm in the process.
I like the liberty Mirella takes with her heroines. I also like this hyper-femininity that endures all, even the most radical formal experiments. The sentimental aspect of these works is priceless to me because thanks to it these strange and alien beings suddenly become close and understandable. There is a lot of nostalgia to be found here. A longing for intergalactic adventure that we hoped so much for and which could only happen for us on the silver screen. But it is not a paradise lost for ever – the vision of a universal alien community continues in our fantasies and hearts. Science fiction can be a powerful lesson of ethics. I have learnt humanism from Ray Bradbury and his Martian Chronicles. For Mirella, Gene Roddenberry’s work has clearly been an important source of inspiration. I can easily imagine her in the tight pink and black Starfleet uniform, crossing the vast distances of outer space onboard the USS Enterprise. Always according to the Prime Directive, and always open to the new, unknown, and fascinating beauty of creation. As Charles Xavier once said: “Mutation. It is the key to our evolution”.
Maurycy Gomulicki, Mexico City, April 2023
Beautiful Aliens, 6th May- 3rd June 2023, WM Gallery, Elandsgracht 35, Amsterdam
Photo by Maurycy Gomulicki