CRAZY WEDNESDAY: A MOSSY BANKSY?

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Since the worldwide acclaim of enigmatic graffiti artist Banksy, and the UK trend for “guerrilla gardening” – in which amateurs cultivate decaying urban plots under cover of darkness – the time seems just right for another maverick social artist. Hungarian-born Edina Tokodi is probably just that next big thing.

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Tokodi creates urban art out of mosses – yes, actual, living moss. Her work, which she calls “grassity”, was borne out of a sadness at the disengagement she perceived between city dwellers and the natural environment outside.

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“I think that our distance from nature is already a cliché. City dwellers often have no relationship with animals or greenery. As a public artist I feel a sense of duty to draw attention to deficiencies in our everyday life. As a cultivator of eco-urban sensitivity, I usually go back to the sites to visit my “plants” or “moss”, sometimes to repair them a bit, but nothing more generally as they tend to get enough water from the air, condensation, and rain – especially in certain seasons. I also like to let them live by themselves. From the moment I put them on the street they start to have their own life. For me, the reaction of life on the street is also very important. I am curious about how people receive them, if they just leave them alone, or if they want to, take care of them or dismantle them. This is what makes my work similar to graffiti, although I am searching for a deeper social meaning and a dialogue with memories of the animals and gardens of my past in a small town in Central Europe. I believe that if everyone had a garden of their own to cultivate, we would have a much more balanced relation to our territories. Of course, a garden can be many things”, she says.

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Tokodi studied graphic art and design at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, and did a course in urban design in Milan, Italy. In 2005, she used moss to transform a city square in Budapest, Hungary. Her more recent works are in Brooklyn, New York, and include animal shapes made out of moss, and moss apparently “growing out” of unexpected places.

There’s plenty of buzz about Tokodi’s work, and I wouldn’t mind betting that you’ll be hearing a lot more of her in the future.

Amanda

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