Fresia Sofia


Sofia Fresia | Arte Laguna Prize Sofia Fresia
Genoa, Italy 1992

The New Reef

Art section: Painting

Dimensions: 100 x 90 cm

Year: 2021

Technique: Oil on canva

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The New Reef is a project focused on the suffering and destruction of many marine ecosystems by human beings. The birth of this artwork is linked to the experience of Marine Litter Art, an art residency that I carried out in Sicily in the summer of 2021 and during which the invited artists created site specific installations using exclusively the waste collected during the cleaning of the area at the mouth of the river Platani, near Agrigento. Shocked by the amount of plastic that was present at the mouth, I chose to work exclusively with these materials: polystyrene, packaging, bottles, flasks and plastic caps. Back home, however, I continued to feel the urgent need to translate the message of denouncing the abandonment of plastic in my paintings, and it is from this need that The New Reef was born. The painting would like to be a dystopian representation of a future – perhaps not too distant – in which humanity will have caused the disappearance of biodiversity as we know it today and will have adapted to live in a world made of plastic, the same plastic that we created and of which we no longer know how to get rid of. I imagined a hypothetical luxury hotel of the future that will present itself to its potential guests as a paradise from which they can enjoy a privileged and exclusive view of what they think to be the beauties of the sea: over a complicated system of super pools looms a grotesque structure that wants to be the simulacrum of a coral reef. This element was inspired by the underwater concretions that I had the opportunity to observe during some dives in the Mediterranean: gorgonians, anemones, sponges, etc. which I tried to evoke in an altered key, imagining a possible deadly metamorphosis. Tourists in the pool do not realize what is above them, because they will have lost the memory of what had been before and also the ability to distinguish between what is authentic and natural, and what is not at all. The geometries that cut the composition in two are a reference to the Point of no return that scientists indicate as the limit beyond which the damage inflicted on the environment will become irreversible, and delimit a box where I have put what the archeologists of the future will probably find by digging: ‘fossils’ of plastic materials.