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Beneath the Red Sea, a new Form of Reef

terracota clay,  installation ~ 150 x 80 x 70 cm, 2016.

photo credits © Holger Anlauf


This project has been developed during a three months residency in KAUST, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, organized by the artists-in-labs program. My residency at KAUST has given me an invaluable opportunity to learn in detail about the habitat of corals, and therefore the necessary requirements for durable artificial coral structures. I worked closely with both the marine scientists and the lab staff, learning from their research, exchanging ideas and theories, and joining them on field trips.

What inspired me to design these sculptures is the different patterns and geometrical forms which can be observed in corals, sponges and other organisms that constitute reef environments. I analyzed the shapes –from their molecular bases to their resulting final structures– and then I interpreted them into sculptures. The chosen material to build them is clay. When burnt, clay offers a great adherent surface upon which corals can prosper. Furthermore, the shapes I conceived provide natural protective spaces in which a variety of organisms can find secure and comfortable dwellings. By organizing and combining the sculptures together in space, I created a new form of an artificial reef.

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