Maria Merfeld’s multidisciplinary journey spans three decades and encompasses theoretical and practical approaches. Her material culture studies from historical and anthropological perspectives have influenced her artistic practice, drawing inspiration from diverse cultures, religions, and peoples. In a recent project, Merfeld used pieces of paper of varying sizes as warp threads, weaving them into a weft using a dedicated frame loom to create a sculptural object that hangs in space. The use of materials and techniques showcases her ability to push the boundaries of traditional craft and create unique contemporary works of art.

Born in Bako, Azerbaijan (formerly the Soviet Union), her choice of materials like paper, paper threads, and the red color was a breakthrough of accepted traditions relating to art. The sculpture Zeitgeist relates to the duality of the red color and how this pigment was created. Historically, the ability to create red pigment was very limited in ancient times. Therefore only kings and popes could afford red garments or objects. As the manufacturing of the red pigment became more accessible, it created a ”revolution”.

Red moves to the “other side.” Soldiers, socialists, and the working class could suddenly afford to use elements of red… Historical events, says Merfeld, come and go like waves. She uses this in her sculpture to show the wave-like changes in society. Using the Red and weaving paper pieces (that resemble change) with paper threads all around with no front or back enable us to see it from all sides. The use of paper came from the fact that most of western human history was written on paper. In her work, Merfeld likes to express history and changes to repurpose its sensations and essence by intensifying the form and color to the point of relevance.