The Magical Studio of Mirka Mora

Nothing is more reflective of an artist than their studio, and Mirka Mora’s is no exception. When I was invited to visit her studioin Richmond, I did not know what to expect. But, upon viewing it, it was no surprise to discover a magical space. A wonderfully cramped (no, cosy; because this is Mirka Mora) configuration of naturally formed walkways was teeming with paintings, furniture, objects, fabrics and curiosities of all shapes and sizes.

I joked with William Mora that the walkways worked like a mystery maze, weaving through her apartment-studio, and were so tight that it would make it almost impossible for her to fall. William agreed, with his trademark smile. And this was the way that Mirka loved to live and create. Inspiration was everywhere, and where it wasn’t; well, she created it. The windows in her shower were painted with colourful signature geometric motifs and the sliding doors to her studio were not left as mere glass; they too were decorated with her signature mythical figures, flowers and plants.

Within the studio were all of the memories and possessions that captured her and that acquired a permanency within her surrounds, her world. There were curious and long-lost paintings by artists of the post-war Melbourne art period; many of which were gifted to her and Georges. There were dolls, toy animals and child-like creations of all shapes and sizes. Every space, however tiny, was filled. Mirka collected inspiration in every size and every shape and with a playfulness that I dare say was unique.

Mirka not only embraced the cultural scene of Melbourne, she was also instrumental in creating it, and in creating a legacy that we all now enjoy. Her magic can be seen everywhere throughout this city; at Tolarno’s, where you can marvel at the joyous decoration of the restaurant walls, at Heide Museum of Modern Art, which of course was so much part of Mirka’s life and where you can now enjoy a wonderful documentary exhibition of her drawings and dolls, and of course, in the Flinders Street Train Station Mural. As I write this, and contemplate her extraordinary influence, I realise that Mirka’s art and vision are perhaps in more parts of our city than any other artist. Her gregarious embrace of Melbourne and its affection for her that lasted a lifetime and will, I feel, never end.

The contents of Mirka’s studio have now been meticulously catalogued and packed away, prior to display at Leonard Joel in the late summer of 2019, and the auction on 3 March. So, while the living studio has now passed and the artist, sadly no longer walks its maze of naturally formed corridors. The magic will, I hope, be recreated and once again come to life in our exhibition to reflect the creativity, humour and humanity that was Mirka Mora.

John Albrecht
Managing Director & Head of Private Collections

Auction | Sunday 3 March, 12pm
333 Malvern Road, South Yarra VIC 3141