Waning by Daniela Edburg is an aesthetic exercise in free association, one that draws to the surface of consciousness the delicate symbiosis between human and glacial bodies. Following a thread of thought from her own autoimmune disease to the perils of climate change, Edburg reimagines—in photographic form and felted wool—the tale of Frankenstein as a parable for global warming. On view at Elizabeth Houston Gallery until September 11.
Daniela Edburg, Grassland Tornado, 2016
Edburg has long worked in the in-betweens of reality and imagination, crocheting and knitting objects into her compositions as a kind of hand-made fiction. She is most interested in those artistic places where opposites meet and concepts contradict themselves, where the disconnection imposed by bodily illness is overcome by the connections of human creativity. When the summer of 2016 dealt Edburg an unexpected three-month convalescence in bed, recovering from an affliction that left her feeling every inch of her body as a living bruise, she turned—perhaps empathetically—to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. The glacial landscape that set the stage for Shelley’s drama drew her attention.
Navigating her own recovering body, Edburg planned a voyage to Mer de Glace, the “sea of ice” in the Alps where Dr. Frankenstein expresses his only moments of joy. But what Shelley’s protagonist describes as a scene of “sublime ecstasy that gave wings to the soul,” Edburg found gravely imperiled. Climate change is melting the largest glacier in France at an alarming rate. For Edburg, Frankenstein’s abandonment of his creature parallels our lack of stewardship of nature. The consequences of our apathy are the global warming that endangers our lives and the environmental degradation that causes illness.
With Shelley’s tale as an unconscious guide, Edburg has captured the likenesses of those glaciers in felt, preserving them in sculptural cedarwood boxes like rare and tiny specimens. The waning of the icebergs, recast by the artist in dripping felted wool, serves as a warning of impending environmental catastrophe. In photographic form, human bodies afflicted with autoimmune diseases mimic the scattered disorder of the remaining ice. In other images, we hold in our hands (or hairdos) the effects of climate change—volatile weather patterns that generate tornadoes and other superstorms with increased frequency.
190 ORCHARD STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10002
Daniela Edburg: Waning
until September 11, 2022