The Raise of a co-evolutive story of becoming
yarn & connecting tissue, crochet work
various sizes
Courtesy to the artist


In 2002 my artistic endeavours were quite unspectacular.

I lived in Vienna and had just transferred my work and life from Berlin to Vienna.
In Berlin in 2001, I started to crochet small elements, like body parts extensions: feet of kids or mouth of a dog or I sewed fake plants to simulate a wood in the studio. My Berlin studio was big and I organized a textile wood show. After those small experiments to simulate natural landscapes in human spaces, that positive transfer gave a direction for future projects to express connection to nature of mind and the nature of all. The cultural disconnection with natural environments in modern arts while being in Berlin bored me in course of time. I wanted to create new worlds instead of being eaten by commerce in arts.

Lady Musgrave Reef, 2002-2019, yarn & connecting tissue, crochet work

In 2002 my brother moved to Australia and left his library at my studio in Vienna.

When reorganising my books, one of them fell on the floor. The Great Barrier Reef (Australia) Lonely Planet edition was opened and a bit smashed lying on the floor. Suddenly I saw the page of an island and the EAR. A satellite picture of a coral reef looked like an ear under water. The ear was the Coral Reef under water and it looked like Van Gogh’s Ear.

This was the ultimate indication of the need to reconcile with human nature/natural sciences for my foray. I went on and while reading a story in the papers in Vienna about the natural phenomenon of the shrinking of coral reefs worldwide, the story began to involve me strongly.

Why Van Gogh, why Coral Reefs die out, why can’t we protect reefs from shrinking? And then in 2003, the protests began, the green movement came to life again after sleeping for 40 years. Joseph Beuys‘ action of planting trees in the city of Kassel for documenta 7 immediately spoke to me. The Idea started. I began to crochet a big Coral Reef, I crocheted some small pieces by myself. This is the only way to connect again with nature in mind.

By and by I realized that I would not be able to crochet 1500 corals, so I posted an ad in some newspapers in Vienna. This was in 2002 when some people responded to work for LMRF (Lady Musgrave Reef Foundation). I founded Lady Musgrave Reef Foundation together with the ARBEITSGEMEINSCHAFT Neulinggasse in Vienna. The AG is a group of people locally connected through my home street in Vienna. We were working with 20 people crocheting the corals for at least 3-7 years. Different forms and groups of workers evolved and the process was satisfying.

Volunteers working on The Lady Musgrave Reef

Reconnection to human nature and the social impact of co-operation and co-evolution went very well. We sent the yarns and cottons to people and they showed up with wonderful crocheted corals and were paid by the Foundation.

Exhibiting the Coral Reef turned out very interesting and raised new questions, how to present a collective work to the public. We developed a site adaptive installation logistics that allowed to include the environmental architecture of the space in museums and galleries to interact with the Coral Reef.

We exhibited the big Crocheted Reef in Krems, Graz, Hamburg, Mumbay, Addis Abeba, Peking, São Paolo, Puebla (Mexico) and Lima (Peru) and Essen in Germany. For each city the modus of installation was improvised and chosen by the curators of the different museums.

The Crocheted Reef every time is the jewel of cooperation and adaptation in a new environment of a museum.

This time in Budapest an ellipsoid wave of wood board painted sea blue will sit on the steel/aluminium boxes in which the corals have travelled for 14 years now around the world.

Lady Musgrave Reef is the first ever Crocheted Reef and has conquerors and imitators.

Petra Maitz