Mirka Mora

A new exhibition at Heide Museum of Art commemorates the life and work of the late Mirka Mora (1928 – 2018), a beloved figure in the cultural landscape and creative zeitgeist of Australia. In a colourful career spanning more than six decades, the French-born Australian artist long captured the public imagination with her radiant personality, bohemianism and whimsical art.

After living through the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe, Mora and her husband Georges arrived in Melbourne from Paris in 1951, where they subsequently helped transform the city’s artistic and culinary identities. The couple became pioneers of contemporary art, cafes and late-night bars, fostering hubs for the city’s best creatives – including John and Sunday Reed, Fred Williams, Joy Hester, Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd. Mora left her instantly recognisable mark all over Melbourne through murals, mosaics, fashion collections and even on the exterior of a tram in the 1980s. Throughout her career she had thirty-five solo exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in 2010. Eight years later, Heide celebrates Mora’s inspiring legacy with an exhibition that brings together some of the artist’s most personal work: drawings and soft-sculpture dolls from her home and studio where she kept them close for many decades. For Mora these two art forms were inseparable: ‘My dolls are my drawings in three-dimensions’, she explained. The works on display – many shown for the first time – offer a glimpse into the artist’s enchanting private universe and profound joie de vivre. Sensuous, cherubic figures derived from fairy tales, folk art, surrealism and vivid daydreams mingle and meld into an animated portrait of her innermost self. The exhibition comes after several years of planning and two months since Mora’s passing at the age of ninety.

‘Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux’ coincides with a limited-edition collection of Mirka Mora garments and accessories by Gorman, as well as the release of a new book, Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair, which surveys the vitalising effect the Parisian couple had on Australian art and food after their arrival in 1951 (check out a review of the book in Issue 45 of Artist Profile!)

Mirka Mora | Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls
27 October 2018 – 24 March 2019
Heide Museum of Modern Art, Vic

 

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