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The idea from which this work started began to develop on April 2015, while I was participating in a brief residency in Portugal. There I met burel, a fabric made of natural wool and similar to felt, traditionally used by the Serra da Estrela high mountain’s shepherds. A year would pass before I started this new project, which began with a visit to Manteigas —where this fabric is made— to know about the different proceses that involve their production.

From there I traveled by train all over the Duero river shore, that flows meandering between the vineyard’s sowing hills, taking as much area as they can, flooding their infinite stepped terraces. That particular geography reminded me of the layered production process of the felt murals, and I thought that working with burel in that same way to from that landscape, was a way to take over this new material and to incorporate it into my own working processes.

So, in order to create the image for this work I used a photography taken at Peso da Régua, of the stepped hillsides of the Duero river shore, where one still can see hundreds of white stakes that remain standing up after the vintage. I decided to reproduce this photography using only the natural burel’s colors —therefore the title of this work—, from beige to brown, and this time I wanted to hand-sew the five layers of fabric that shape the piece.

I started this work in Lisboa, during a three-month stay in 2016; an eight-month interruption to make another work forced me to resume its production just halfway through 2017. Since then, many hours have been dedicated to this project, which as in many projects before and –I hope– so many later, in their own preparation invite me to inhabit and understand it, and imagine other new ways of being in the present.

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The thickness of color

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Published in m. [una tentativa de inventario exhaustivo, aunque siempre inconcluso], Santiago, Chile. Ed EUONIA, p. 119-123. 2017.


  1. © 2018 monica bengoa

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