Project under public consultation until September 12
Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto (better known as Vhils) and energy company EDP have teamed up to create an underwater exhibition off the coast of Praia de Santa Eulália in Albufeira.
The artist will use old parts from deactivated EDP plants to create thirteen sculptures, which will be sunken to create what they call an “new artificial reef.”
The project is under public consultation until September 12 on the website of DGRM (board of natural resources, safety and maritime services) as it requires special authorisation to move forward in the form of a TUPEM (Title of Private Usage of National Maritime Space).
Explains DGRM, the underwater exhibition will feature “five sculptures of concrete and mortar” and “eight iron sculptures” using pieces from old EDP plants.
The board guarantees that every sculpture will be subjected to “scouring and decontamination to remove all vestiges of paint and other residue” in order to prevent any negative impact on the marine environment.
The goal is not only to create an impressive underwater exhibition to be visited for free (how these visits will be open to public and how they will be carried out has not yet been explained), but also create a thriving artificial reef.
Corals will have been “accidentally captured from the bottom of the sea by fishing nets or ripped away by storms will be placed at the reef,” explains DGRM.
Meanwhile, EDP says that “Vhils’ mission reinforces the need for rapid decarbonisation of the planet and the reuse of materials for the creation of new sustainable ecosystems.
“In the end, we will have a new artificial reef, which unites the artistic and biological components and will also help to transform mentalities in favor of greater harmony with the planet,” the energy company adds.
Vhils – who has exhibited all over the world and has become one of Portugal’s best known artists abroad – has also explained why he became involved in this project.
“In my work process, I use raw materials and various techniques based on the principle of reusing and recycling materials. This is central to my work and very important to me,” says Vhils in the project’s promotional video.
“The opportunity to be able to convert materials coming from the dismantlement process of former EDP plants has the double virtue of allowing me access to unique materials, with a huge historical value, while contributing to a decarbonisation process initiated with the decommissioning of these old plants, and at the same time, the stimulation of biodiversity through art” he adds.