In recent weeks, the topic related to the LGBTQ+ community in Poland has been widely discussed, and differences in opinions of particular circles are quite visible. This dispute intensified during the research and artistic residency of Irène Mélix, an activist and artist from Dresden, the sister city of Wrocław. In her project, however, Mélix reaches deeper – going beyond discussions or conflicts – to highlight the universal aspects of humanity: the need for closeness, love and acceptance that accompanies each of us.
Ads collected by Mélix in the form of a zine created jointly with ERS – a Wrocław-based graphic designer and illustrator – present a broad spectrum of femininity. Exclusive clubs for book female readers, “Amazons from the Island of Safona”, artists and sports fans, lawyers and doctors, music lovers, mothers and students – they all look for friends, partners and companions. They come from Poland, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, France or are citizens of the world. Their ads were published in the 1920s in Breslau, Lyon in the 1980s, Cologne in the 1970s or Sydney or Prague in 2000.
“It’s hard to end with the loneliness when you use Lonely Hearts section, but I still haven’t given up and I’m still looking for a real partner here.”
Mélix also invites us to the world of sound. The pop-up installation “Lonely Hearts” – located in the artist’s studio on the third floor of Wyspa Tamka – is a feminine and very personal journey through an audiosphere of loneliness. Listening to the ads read by the lector, we learn about the intimate stories of women who have been looking for companion for most of their lives. The invitation to make contact, intertwined between four audio channels, is a portrait of women who are thoroughly contemporary, very human and full of emotion, needing the closeness of another person. Turns out that these stories are contemporary and each of us can identify with them.
Irène Mélix is a graduate of Cultural Studies at the University of Hildesheim and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden. Mélix works in between of activism, art and political commitment. The starting point for her artistic practice is historical research, actions deeply rooted in socio-political contexts, those concerning gender issues and its role, which results in realizations using various media: the artist draws, creates works based on screen printing techniques, publishes zines and video works.