Art by Vhils with EDP centerpieces is shown in Lisbon before being sunk in Albufeira

EDP ​​and Vhils transform parts of deactivated thermoelectric power stations in the first underwater exhibition on the Portuguese coast

Some of the art pieces created by Alexandre Farto aka Vhils, which will be submerged in the sea off Albufeira, for the creation of the first underwater exhibition in Portugal, can now be visited until the 15th of April, at the headquarters of EDP, in Lisbon.

Visitors will be able to see first-hand the intervention made by the artist in parts of former EDP thermoelectric power stations, which will now have a new life at the bottom of the ocean, in front of Santa Eulália beach. The pre-exhibition is available at the company's headquarters, in Lisbon, and is freely accessible.

«As part of its commitment to be 100% green by 2030 and to stop producing energy from fossil fuels, EDP challenged Vhils to develop an artistic project with pieces that in the past were used to produce electricity», explains the company.

Now that these plants "are being decommissioned to make way for renewable energy projects and innovation poles, these parts will also have a new life", adds EDP.

Over the last three years, Vhils Studio and more than 200 people from various teams «have been involved in visiting the decommissioned power plants, creating the creative concept for EDP Art Reef, choosing materials and intervening in them».

The end result will be an underwater exhibition off the coast of Albufeira, with unique and large-scale pieces that will change over time due to the influence of the elements, like the Sul Informação reported in August 2022.

The works were designed to create a new artificial reef and will be submerged at a depth of around 12 meters, in front of Santa Eulália beach, in Albufeira, and therefore can only be visited by practicing qualified diving. Thus, a visit to the pre-exhibition at EDP's headquarters allows anyone to experience first-hand part of this work.

As our newspaper found out, the sinking of the sculptural pieces designed by Vhils should take place even before next summer, in May or June.

«The idea of ​​submerging installations made up of parts from dismantled thermoelectric power stations in the ocean carries a strong metaphorical weight, both in terms of raising awareness of the need for responsible use of resources, and in highlighting environmental issues that need urgent answers, and that come from human activity on the planet», commented Vihls.

«The objective of this project is to promote the development of innovative ways that lead to the creation of systems that establish a harmonious relationship with nature. The transformation of these materials into an ecosystem conducive to the growth of coral reefs and the reception of various forms of marine fauna and flora is an example of this approach, and I hope that this is the first of many steps towards an increasingly conscious and sustainable future. », added the artist.



The EDP Art Reef project aims to «confront the public with the consequences of human actions, with the growing instability of the aquatic environment, the effects of climate change and the importance of reversing the impact on the planet».

«At EDP, we believe that this is the moment to write in stone that we are committed to the future of the next generations. It has never been so important to switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources, promote the energy transition and ensure that this is done in a fair and inclusive way», highlights Vera Pinto Pereira, executive director of EDP.

EDP ​​Art Reef, «a pioneering project created by a great name in contemporary art, is a tribute to the past of the electricity sector and of our country, but it is also a commitment to the future of all of us», adds Vera Pinto Pereira.

The EDP Art Reef, which was subject to public discussion of its request for the Title of Private Use of the National Maritime Space (TUPEM), «was approved by the competent authorities, who concluded that it will not have a negative impact on the ecosystem, representing an environmental asset that will contribute positively to the development of the local ecosystem».

On the recommendation of marine biologists who provide technical support to the project, all pieces were designed to allow the passage of local fauna, and living corals rescued and preserved in captivity will be implanted at its base.

This site will be monitored over the next few years, being available for scientific and environmental study, in addition to its cultural and awareness aspects.

This will also be a project that will contribute to reinforce the importance of the Algarve region as a cultural recreational diving destination.

The project was, therefore, developed with the support of Albufeira City Council, Turismo de Portugal, CCMar (University of the Algarve), among others, and validated by the General Directorate of Natural Resources and by the Portuguese Environment Agency, as well as other competent authorities.

In turn, the sinking of the exhibition is licensed by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests and the National Maritime Authority.



Description of the pieces on display at EDP headquarters:

This piece represents the entry point into the exhibition, having an accentuated symbolism, due to its positioning.
The visitor, when passing through the center of the mill, will be able to observe through its openings a different composition referring to the three Atlantic continents.
Its orientation will correspond to the geographic position of the continents.
In these openings, the artistic intervention will consist of hollow metal elements, composed of geometric patterns of looks of its inhabitants.
This work represents the period in which the sea was a mere point of observation for humanity, an impassable frontier that aroused curiosity and, at the same time, fear of the unknown.
This iron sculpture, the tallest in the exhibition, is the result of using the body of a coal mill from the deactivation of a thermoelectric power plant, which, after being capped and properly made available free of any contaminants, was worked on by the artist Vhils and will present three looks carved in iron.
Sculpture, cylindrical, is 5,30 meters high and 4,77 meters in diameter and will be based on a concrete footing.



What served as a water tank for the cooling systems of the Carregado thermoelectric power station will be converted into a canvas, representing a city, the highest exponent of technological, economic, cultural and social development.
It also represents the current state of experience of humanity, “trapped” in urban centers and disconnected from the natural environment.
It consists of a sculpture made from an iron tank 2,80 m high, 3 m wide, 4,20 m long and a concrete footing 4,20 m wide and 3 m long.


Partners and entities involved in EDP Art Reef:

Ambigroup, National Maritime Authority, AMOP Synergies, Portuguese Environment Agency, Albufeira City Council, Lisbon City Council, Marine Sciences Center of the University of Algarve, Directorate General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services, Easydivers, Conservation Institute da Natureza e das Florestas, Interserv , Lindo Serviços, LS Engenharia Geográfica, Marina de Albufeira, Mota-Engil, Navalrocha, Penguim Sub, PSP Lisboa – Trânsito Division, Stagetec, Tiago Miguel Fraga – Maritime Archeology, Transgrua, Turismo de Portugal, Zilmo



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