Mia Enell: Split at Nino Mier Gallery, Brussels

Split Bed, 2019, Acrylic on canvas 75 x 92 in 190.5 x 233.7 cm


Mia Enell: Split

Nino Mier Gallery, Brussels

Rue Ernest Allard 41, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

By JOSEPH NECHVATAL September 12, 2023 

The pink chopped-in-two meat bed displayed in Mia Enell’s Split Bed painting seems to have the most emblematic qualia in her Split exhibition, now on view in Brussels until October 28th at one of the two Nino Mier Galleries there. In philosophy of mind, qualia is how an experience feels from the inside: how things seem to us. 

For me, Split Bed has an iconic aspect of resonating absence about it that refers to the melancholy sense of emptiness that lingers after the sex is gone. It seems an iconic reflection on the fragility of interpersonal relationships and the tender sexual encounters embedded within them. But it may also suggest as subconscious thought the virtual void that is at the heart today of our so called “real” meat space. As such, Gothenburg-born New York City artist Enell (who also works in photography, video, installation and sculpture) is one of those contemporary artists working today who are exploring how the once perceived silicon and organic split are entangling; at the very least deep within our neural networks. 

Now that the tiny buzzword “AI” has becomes ubiquitous and often poorly used in art, particularly with her drawings Enell shows us what new artificial intelligent entities and relationships might look like. With Somehow connecting and Abstract Eyes: as dodgy if tender friendships and collaborations within programmable energies and fictions. 

Somehow connecting, 2020, Paper, pencil, watercolor 11 x 14 in 27.9 x 35.6 cm

Abstract Eyes, 2022, Paper, pencil, watercolor 11 x 14 in, 27.9 x 35.6 cm

Empty headed, 2019, Paper, pencil, 11 x 14 in, 27.9 x 35.6 cm 


Birth & Death, 2019, Acrylic on canvas 75 x 92 in 190.5 x 233.7 cm, installation view

Empty headed suggests another approach: giving space for hidden-non-cultural-non-anthropocentric knowledge systems to arise. It also calms the state of agitation induced by the fear of facing the silent stagnation of the virtual void. That Enell strips her subjects of any surrounding atmosphere implies just such a virtual void.

As with her painting Split Bed, Birth & Death sets up a division space for ideas to swell and dwell. Here a top hat high cultural symbiosis creates a con-fusion between old and new ways of dealing with our non-quantifiable spectrum of lived reality. As if magically pulling a rabbit out of a hat to enhance and foster life and to confront the challenges of the future, Birth & Death defines enough mental space not only to question faultless digitalization, but to fold into image making ancient, folkloric, pre-industrial strategies as well. For as with her predecessors-influencers Niki de Saint Phalle and Annette Messager, Enell investigates herself in her dreams. In art she measures her dreams against their social impact so to interrogate the role we assign both art images and dreams to our emotional life as a whole. Almost like a magician she guides us to see how we too can combine our emotions with natural and technological neural networks by including ancient esoteric practices such as divinations that probe the subconscious/unconscious secrets of the complex inner world. Such heady probes may even lead us to walking in peace on thin air. WM

The exhibitions continues: September 5 through October 28, 2023


Joseph Nechvatal


Joseph Nechvatal is an American transdisciplinary artist/painter currently living in Paris. His The Viral Tempest limited edition art LP has been recently published by Pentiments Records and his newest book of poetry, Styling Sagaciousness: Oh Great No!, by Punctum Books. His cyber-sex farce novella ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~venus©~Ñ~vibrator, even is being book published by Orbis Tertius Press in 2023.

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