4 October  - 23 November 2014



For our exhibition in Autumn 2014, artist Simon Faithfull made a new work called REEF, which also formed part of Brighton Photo Biennial 2014.


For REEF Simon sunk a boat at the end of its working life off the coast of Southern England to create a new artificial reef.

The project REEF took an abandoned ship called the Brioney Victoria and used her as a catalyst to generate an ecosystem beneath the waves – an artificial reef. The project reveals a process where an object at the end of its use becomes the seedbed that allows diverse forms of life to flourish. The boat’s journey to the bottom of the sea is full of contradictions – an image of a disaster but one that leads to the creation of new life.


As a maritime nation the idea of the sea is part of our DNA. The sea defines our relations with the world and the freedoms it offers, or the threats it presents, are part of our collective thoughts and dreams. Whilst dealing with these dangers, REEF celebrates our intimate relationship with the sea and the mysterious world beneath the waves.

Watching the sea overwhelm the Brioney Victoria was a strange experience. How can 32 tons of ship slip almost silently through the membrane of the water’s surface and vanish completely from human eyes in a few seconds? This moment reinforced for me how the reflecting, shivering surface of the water is a boundary to another almost unknowable place. Simon Faithfull – 2014


This was a complex and highly collaborative project, which involved the input of many people and organisations and was co-commissioned by Fabrica, PhotoworksMusée des Beaux Arts, Calais and the FRAC Basse Normandie (Caen).

Simon Faithfull and Fabrica sought the expertise and support of a number of companies including Wreck to ReefArt AVField BroadcastO’ThreePrecision EnergeticsDorset County CouncilWeber IndustriesRingstead Caravans and Quest Underwater Services.


The exhibition was part of the activity of our European-funded project Time and Place. Changing Landscape is one of the major themes of the project, exploring environmental and social aspects of landscapes. This exhibition sat in that strand of the project.

View The Response magazine created by Fabrica volunteers in response to the exhibition here:


Simon Faithfull’s new work REEF has been commissioned as part of Time and Place (TAP), a three-year, European-funded collaborative project involving five partners across England and France.


Focusing on specific urban, rural and coastal areas in Pas de Calais, Basse Normandie, Brighton & Hove and Norfolk, the partners are: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, UK; FRAC Basse Normandie, France; Musée des Beaux Arts, Calais; Communauté d’Agglomération du Calais and Fabrica, UK. TAP seeks to engage and explore the cultural and environmental heritage of these areas, with a broad audience including socially excluded individuals and groups.

The project has grown around two central themes: Aftermath, the heritage of war; art, conflict and death and Changing Landscape, which explores the environmental and social aspects of the landscape.


REEF is part of the Changing Landscape theme of the project. Previous exhibitions, Resonance by Susie MacMurray and Raumzeichnung (Reflection) by Monika Grzymala at Fabrica, Voices of the Sea at the Musée des Beaux Arts, No Horizon at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, and Peindre L’Air by Spencer Finch at FRAC Basse Normandie all form part of this theme.




Simon Faithfull is a contemporary artist whose work has been exhibited extensively around the world. His practice has been described as an attempt to understand and explore the planet as a sculptural object – to test its limits and report back from its extremities. Within his work Faithfull often builds teams of scientists, technicians and transmission experts to help him bring back a personal vision from the ends of the world.


Recent exhibitions include solo shows at ArtConnexion, (Lille, France), the British Film Institute (London), Harris Museum (Preston), Galerie Polaris (Paris), Parker’s Box (New York) and Stills (Edinburgh). Recent group shows include exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Australia), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) and Bienal del Fin del Mundo (Argentina). In 2010 Faithfull’s largest permanent public artwork to date was unveiled at the centre of Liverpool, England.


Faithfull was born in Braziers Park – a utopian commune in Ipsden, Oxfordshire. He studied at Central St Martins and then Reading University. His practice takes a variety of forms – ranging from video, to digital drawing, installation work and writing. Faithfull is also a lecturer at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, an External Examiner at Manchester Metropolitan University.

CV – Solo and two-person shows


  • 2013 Wanderings, ICIA, Bath, UK

  • 2012 Simon Faithfull: An Expanding Atlas of Subjectivity, ArtConnexion, Lille

  • An Expanding Atlas of Subjectivity, Phoenix Art Centre, Leicester, England

  • 2011 Going Nowhere – Simon Faithfull, New York, Parker’s Box, USA

  • An Expanding Atlas of Subjectivity, National Museum (Project Space), Berlin

  • 2010 Voyages Extraordinaires – (Simon Faithfull/Christoph Keller), Altkirch, CRAC Alsace

  • Recent Findings – Simon Faithfull, Harris Museum, Preston

  • 2009 Gravity Sucks, British Film Institute Gallery, London

  • Simon Faithfull & Carla Guagliardi – Schwerlos, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, Germany

  • 2008 Simon Faithfull – Selected Video Works, France, Galerie Polaris, Paris

  • 2006 Stills, Edinburgh, Scotland

  • Ice Blink, Cell, London

  • Ice Blink, Parker’s Box, New York

  • 2005 Antarctica Dispatches, CCA

  • 2004 Hard Drive – (Digital Studio)

  • Vanishing Point

  • 30Km – Film and Video Umbrella Commission, Aspex

  • 2003 Dreamland – Droit House, Margate, Turner Contemporary

  • 2002 Simon Faithfull & Bruno Peinado, New York, Parker’s Box, USA

  • Dogends, Transit Space

  • Psychotopography, Artsway

  • 2000 Moth Island – Lotts Island, Waterman’s Arts Centre

  • 1999 ‘Y’, Amsterdam, de Veemvloer

  • 1998 Hertford Union, Chisenhale Gallery