Maja Escher

Portugal, 1990


Maja Escher´s artistic practice has a collective and hybrid dimension in which drawings, found objects, collaborative practices and fieldwork methods are part of the artist’s process to develop her site specific installations and research oriented projects. Clay, canes, rope, stones, vegetables and other elements found or offered to her during research fieldtrips are often combined with riddles, sayings and songs, creating a tension between spirituality and science, magic and technology. In her practice, Escher cultivates a deep observation of ecosystems and ancestral knowledge connected to the land and its primordial elements. Maja Escher was born and raised near the Santa Clara dam, in southwest Alentejo (Portugal), a region densely populated by eucalyptus monocultures and characterised by  a  heavy presence of greenhouses and intensive agriculture located in the Southwest Natural Park and irrigated by this same dam. In recent years, the water level in the dam has dropped quite drastically, as has the water from the well and borehole on the artist’s land. This awareness and growing concern with the scarcity of water resources and the consequent risk of desertification, led the artist to start a research project on water and rain, seeking to connect popular wisdom – stories, sayings and riddles – and scientific knowledge.