FEDERICO URIBE‘s ’plastic’ Coral Reef Installation makes Headlines at Venice Biennale

Federico Uribe Plastic coral reef

Adelson Gallery Resident Artist,  a highlight of 2019 Venice Biennale

If you plan to visit the Venice Biennale this year, make sure you check out Federico Uribe’s Coral Reef installation, a highlight of the collateral exhibition, “Personal Structures.”  The exhibition – which has been coordinated by Adelson Galleries in cooperation with the European Cultural Centre – was officially inaugurated on May 9th in the presence of international art curators, diplomatic delegations and the public. It can be visited every day until November 24th, 2019.

The famed Colombian-American artist who lives in Miami, Florida is acclaimed for his repurposing of unconventional objects and materials, such as bullet shells, colored shoelaces, pins, pencils, electrical wires, ties, and books, to mention a few.  Because his sculptures and “paintings” have been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries worldwide, he has developed a loyal, international following.

Inspired by Conservation, Uribe turns trash into stunning installation

““Living in a coastal city has made me very conscious and sensitive about the need to conserve marine environments and ecosystems. Plastic production is increasingly inexorable, particularly in the developing world and it is an indicator of development,” said Uribe. According to th World Economics Forum, the world is now producing more than 300 million tons of plastic every year. More than 40 percent is used once, sometimes for less than a minute and discarded.  More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year and because of plastic’s durability, it persists in the environment for centuries.

““Plastic pollution has inspired me to create the Coral Reef installation. My plastic reef installation reflects on the indiscriminate use of plastic, as well as on the ocean plastic pollution worldwide,” said Uribe.

The Plastic Reef is enigmatically beautiful, yet its underlying meaning confronts viewers with the harsh reality of oceanic pollution. 

From a distance the assemblages appear to be beautiful, colorful underwater worlds. Up close, one can clearly see the thousands of pieces of plastic, which are meticulously cut and arranged. The result is aesthetically pleasing and whimsical, yet contains a powerful and disturbing message.

The installation plays with a juxtaposition between whimsical subject matters – coral reefs and marine landscapes that are full of life – and the potentially destructive medium of plastic. Uribe specifically created the installation for the Biennale, and its message is inherently tied to Venice’s geographic location – being a city floating on the sea.

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