While her subjects display the attributes of pop culture’s classic heroines, being beautiful, provocative, powerful, humorous or stylish, they are also the product of her personal vision with contradictory traits such as fragility, sweetness and a lyricism. Their ‘comic strip’ origins link them to our childhood memories, adding an extra layer of nostalgia to render these works pop art at its most powerful.
Monika’s work inhabits a fantastical narrative landscape which abounds in fascinating colours, tributes and tropes. She almost overplays the femininity of the individuals she represents, making us question what it means to be a woman in the modern world. Each piece offers both a critique of society and an affirmation of the artist's fierce desire to imprint her personality on what she describes as a “chaotic, saturated and obsessive world”.
Working closely with a fashion photographer and makeup artist, Monika discusses her initial ideas for a painting or a series before choosing a model and setting up a photo shoot. She then orients the shoot according to her plans, but this is only the beginning of the creative process. The session provides a starting point as even while it is happening, her ideas begin to transform and take flight. She uses the photographs as source material, combining elements from different pictures, exaggerating certain aspects yet retaining a certain overall realism. In this way she creates what she describes as an ‘idea’ of the feminine.
Cutting edge technology is an important part of Monika’s creative world. Her graphic design and digital skills allow her imagination free rein, as once she visualises an idea, they offer her manifold possibilities of developing it in new and exciting ways. She says: “I am not the type to glorify or minimise technology – it is simply the material of an artist, nothing more. Art is a way of entering the mind of a creator, not of a computer.
It is true that technology offers new possibilities, however we must remember that to create is to put emotion before reflection, before the tool.”
Monika is passionate about human rights and uses her artworks to express her strong views about the status of women all over the world. She believes that it is important for art to promote the freedom of women, to show them acting outside social constraints. To do this, she plays with colour and design in unexpected ways, for instance, she may give her subject blue skin, making her appear like a deity emerging from the water; the use of the colour blue makes the character unplaceable, belonging both everywhere and nowhere, “building a bridge between all the populations and cultures of the globe.” There is no aggression in her work however, as she explains: “We artists are peaceful warriors, our talent and the strength of our expression are our weapons of massive conviction. We can only fight peacefully if we place the idea of the human being, their dignity and their freedom, very high. My heroines do not wear armour, but do battle with their ideas, placing themselves among men and not above them, in fields of science, literature or social justice.”
Monika was born in the centre of France into a family of Polish artists. Her mother, an actress in a theatre group in Krakow, was the original model in her gallery of substantial modern women, alongside rock musicians, sci fi characters, and the heroines from the films of Alfred Hitchcock. After graduating from the prestigious Universities of Beaux-Arts and the Ecole Supérieur des Arts et des Industries Graphiques (University of Graphic Arts) in Paris, she worked as a Creative Director for several global media groups before choosing to pursue life as a fine artist. She now lives and works in Paris and has exhibited her work successfully, first in France, then later in Europe, the US and the Middle East.