Pocket sized mirrors reflecting the skies.
Snails slithering on pink plane seats.
Decadent baths filled with cheesy macaroni.
These bizarre but beautiful creations can be found in their hundreds on Aleia Murawski’s Instagram.
Graduating from Illinois University and majoring in art and design, Aleia focuses on a completely unique form of surrealist still life images where she plays with normal day to day objects yet manipulates scale, colour, tone, perspective and time to create dazzling images or short videos which are quite simply unexplainably entrancing.
There is something strangely captivating about a perfectly manicured nail resting on a minute silk mattress against a backdrop of a view of a free-flowing waterfall. Certainly not a conventional scene of bliss or luxury yet one which, at least for me, resonates at once upon first glance.
Every piece embodies aspects of the luxury and the mundane, the natural with the man-made, the pretty with the ugly. Perhaps it lies in the works’ self-contained neatness and the apparent naturality of such essentially unnatural combinations of ingredients that make her work so absorbing.
My favourites of her still-life videos (a description which in and of itself seems paradoxical yet having seen Aleia’s work it becomes clear that whilst there is movement in the short films, she very much holds the viewer still and suspends them in a frozen vortex of time where all sense of linearity and normality is subtly distorted) has to be “Toxic Bathtub Dreamland.” This was the first piece I ever saw, and I will forever be grateful for it popping up on my newsfeed resulting in some intense scrolling through Aleia’s Instagram and distracting me from my coursework for the next three hours.
To appreciate fully her work you need to watch the actual videos so be sure to head on over to her Instagram @aleia and lose all sense of time irl as well as through her photography which you will without a doubt be captivated by. Superficially, the attractive quality of her work lies in its surface level aesthetic. Pink and ultraviolet hues, smokey baths, swinging chandeliers, the seductive swilling of green slime…. Yet the true magnetism of her work lies in its absurdity. The coupling of the tiny with the great. The completely jarring placement of a live snail adjacent to a tall glass of pink bubbly. Her work possesses what could even be described as a dystopic, end-of-the-world-is-nigh vibe oweing to the almost intoxicating levels of luxury suggestive of utter satiation and the sense that such perfection is fleeting and will soon vanish from sight, and herein lies her art’s captivating quality.
Aside from her joy-generating Instagram work, Aleia actually collaborates with fellow artist from Illinois University Alex Wallbaum and the pair work together to produce vibrant mesmerising diptychs where they try to capture those “fleeting but constructed moments” whilst always endeavouring to have the final productive be “seductive.” And in a totally platonic, im-not-aroused-by-macaroni-in-a-bathtub kind of way, I think we can conclude, the results are damn friggin sexy.