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Daniela Edburg: Civilized Moss

By Margaret Failoni

Painter, photographer, sculptor? It would be difficult to label Daniela Edburg’s work.

This is a conceptual artist, who, unlike many, actually has a concept and a very thought-out, intelligent concept indeed. Once creating the idea in her mind, Edburg starts to put it all together. First, it must be said that she is an avid, almost maniacal crocheter. One very successful production consisted of a photograph of children playing in a field of flowers. Except, instead of flowers, they were knitted brains. The beautiful portrait series in the Boston Museum collection is a series of costumed persons with Caravaggio-esque lighting, holding knitted artifacts. There are magnificent, very British-styled portraits of well-dressed animals in salon or library setting. Exhibited next to the portraits are small boxes with the animal’s beautifully knitted droppings. These portraits were successfully exhibited a few years ago in the Chicago Border Crossing exhibition.

After traveling throughout Europe, including a magical period in Iceland, Edburg discovered moss. The uncanny thing about moss is that it has no roots, yet it can and does grow anywhere and everywhere, just as long as it has the correct environment, otherwise it dries up and lies dormant, never dying, but waiting for the right conditions to grow again. This concept of the rootless moss found everywhere gave the artist her next challenge. She organized a group of people to crochet, in several shades of green, braids of threads which when put together resembled moss. In the work commissioned by the Denver Museum of Art, Edburg gathered people, young and old, boys and girls from all ethnic backgrounds, to crochet and create and work with moss, refuting the different cultural roots of the participants, but instead becoming one, rootless, moss. Beautiful photographs of moss-headed people, moss in all its metaphoric splendor are part of this exhibition in the Intersección Gallery, including small sample bottles of the created green.

Of Mexican and American parents, Daniela Edburg was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up in San Miguel de Allende where she lives and works. Coincidently, I first came across her work in an important gallery in Rome, Italy. Many of her productions are staged and can be seen on opening nights in the galleries and museums even after they have been photographed and immortalized. Her work can be found in private collections and museums in Europe, Mexico, and the United States.

 

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