Image: Tom Thistlethwaite


Simon Faithfull


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.