Reality or Fiction?
Proof, Daniela Edburg’s most recent collection exhibited by the Enrique Guerrero gallery in Mexico City, goes to show that this Mexican artist knows no boundaries when it comes to blurring the line between reality and fiction. In an exclusive interview with Negocios, Edburg gives us all the proof we need to draw our own conclusions.
Daniela Edburg was born in Houston in 1975, but grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. She currently lives and works in Mexico City. Proof, her most recent collection shown at the Enrique Guerrero gallery in Mexico City, sets the imagination into overdrive. Striking landscapes, their beauty marred by horrific messages; real-life people posing for mysterious Renaissance-style portraits; still lives...
Edburg initiates a dialogue between an aesthetic of intricate detail –so excessive it sometimes overpowers the protagonist– and horror that makes us want to take to our heels and move on to the next piece, only to be captivated once again by the same mixture of raw emotion and terror.
A graduate of the San Carlos Academy in Mexico City, Edburg’s work has perturbed gallery-goers in cities as far-flung as Los Angeles, New York, Moscow and Barcelona. Her solo exhibitions include Drop Dead Gorgeous, Nimbus, Eat me, As Seen on TV, Bittersweet, Here by Accident and Let’s Play House.
—Do the beautiful landscapes you depict in your work have any connection to your childhood?
I grew up in a little town not far from the countryside. As a child, I never appreciated it but when I was older, when I was living in New York, I developed a yearning, a need to stare into the horizon. It became a recurring dream: the country, esplanades and wide, open spaces.
—How has your work been received in other countries?
I like showing my work in other countries. Traveling, working in a different environment, time zone and language is always an enriching experience. I feel I have been very well received and so has my work.
—What is your opinion of art fairs?
Art fairs are great because they wake people’s interest. After I take part in a fair, I notice more people visit my website. Most of them want to know more about my work and will leave me a comment, which is wonderful.
If you are looking for exposure, fairs are an ultra-saturated environment, perfect for giving you a feel for what is going on in the market but not always the best place to get a sense of the body of work of a given artist.
—Your most recent exhibition, Proof, is a collection of portraits, still lives and landscapes into which you have introduced knitted elements. How do you join the stitchwork?
What interests me is the artificial nature of these handmade objects that represent actual things. The exhibition is called Proof because it is about our perception of what is real, what a trace left behind is and what evidence is. It is about our need to imbue things with meaning and the absurd.
—Characters that have fallen prey to some kind of obsession are a recurring leitmotif in your work. You document this point of rupture but take an aesthetic approach that could be deemed more optimist than tragic. What is the deal with these characters?
I have always been fascinated by obsessive characters, more specifically by that point where their energy becomes self-destructive and defies logic. Extreme situations reveal the real essence of human nature and we come to realize how easy it is to lose control.
—That is clear from your Drop Dead Gorgeous series...
In Drop Dead Gorgeous the scenarios were commonplaces in which everyday consumer items came to represent mortal threats. But later on I explored the concept further in some of the photos from my Killing Time and Knit series, except in these pieces, it is the creation itself or the creative energy that returns to destroy us, like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.
—As an artist, what has been your biggest challenge?
To find a seamless way of creating, traveling and promoting my work all at the same time.
—What advice would you give to budding artists setting out on their own adventure?
View limitations as a chance to discover your own style. I would also tell them that it is important not to rush things.