[ISEA2018] Artist Statement: Marie Griesmar — AiL film program: Beneath the Red Sea; a new form of reef

Artist Statement

Art, Science & Us sub-programme

This project was developed during a three-month Artists in Labs residency in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Here, Griesmar uncovered the necessary requirements for building durable artificial coral structures. What inspiredthe design of these sculptures is the different patterns and geometrical forms which can be observed in corals, sponges and other organisms that constitute reef environments. The shapes were analysed –from their molecular bases to their resulting final structures– and then interpreted 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 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, a new form of an artificial reef was created .

  • The complexity and poetry of water and the under-water world are a decisive inspiration for Marie Griesmar’s art practice. She started diving at the age of nine and has been a committed observer of marine life ever since. Thanks to her diving skills, she sees water as a new space for creativity and creation. During her residency at KAUST, Griesmar investigated the aesthetics of underwater ecological constructions in the Red Sea. Inspired by the diversity of the organisms – their function and forms, she created a series of sculptures for her long-term underwater experiment. With her intervention, she aims to raise awareness to the importance of coral reef ecosystems. Griesmar holds an MA Fine Arts from Zurich University of the Arts. She currently lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Supported by artistsinlabs.ch/en