There are recurring depictions of fantastical creatures, humans-animal and human-plant hybrids in close interrelations in Murni’s body of work. Their prevalence could be attributed to Murni’s sleep habit, as she may have been a lucid dreamer.
Her partner Edmondo Zanolini describes her interactivity during REM sleep [or in a state of trance]:
As Murni allows her unconscious to take the lead in her amalgamated illogical scenes with strange creatures, she brings alive the conditions of her dreams to reality.
In Ku Memetikmu (I am Picking You), a hand is shown picking and caressing a fruit with a star-shaped calyx, while in Hampir Menikmati (Almost Enjoying), the subject is a composite figure of a human leg morphed into organic plant-like growth. The two paintings depict feminine sexuality without the voyeuristic passivity of the traditional female nude. By painting herself as an entity morphing into an animal or plant in close embrace with others, Murni dances around the issue of the life force being omnipresently and essentially sexual. In what is perhaps her main contribution to women and humanity as a whole, these male-less paintings show the world that women can own, enjoy, and be sustained by sexual ecstasy, both with a partner and without.
Other than drawing from hybridized and anthropomorphized creatures, Murni also references various traditional iconographies. At times these images would reveal her complex self-reflections, revealing features that resemble the artist or allude to biographical events in her life.
In Mesatya 97 (Mesatya Ceremony 97), a mythical fish jumps through a ring of fire. The title and iconography allude to the now-forbidden traditional ceremony of honor-suicide, where the wife would prove her loyalty by jumping into the husband’s cremation fire, joining him in the afterlife. Aside from staging her version of such tradition, this painting is also perhaps a subtle reference to Murni’s fraught relationship with her ex-husband; the work evokes a forewarning of wretched union and deadly companionship. This painting could also symbolize her triumphant survival; just as the fish escapes the fire and back into the water, Murni rises above her husband’s abuse and history of trauma.