The story behind: Zostera Noltei (1, 2, 3 & 6)

Zostera Noltei was the starting point of the creation of the seagrass series Between the Sea and the Shore. As I learned and grew fascinated by these marine plants, I felt the need to explore the representation of a plant that is visually simple and yet, in it, it holds so much of life in our oceans. I wanted to portray this contrast between a complete lack of visual exuberance with its inner richness, and it felt daunting. I had no idea what to do, or how to do it. I went over this difficulty by using a fixation, almost an obsession I held for a few years: an image from architect Peter Zumthor work, if I recall correctly, from his book Thinking Architecture. It's a very simple image, a detail of wood work from one of his buildings. The detail is out of context, so all you can see is wood: vertical lines, skillfully aligned. I was haunted by this image: what gives the wood a change in its colours, despite being all the same, parallel wood lines? Somehow, it made sense to bring these obsessive inquiries into my living seagrass gardens: vertical, yes, with changing tones - derived from their age, degradation, water reflections, scale. Alas, as I painted them, I was over and over brought to the sensation of swimming underwater, of the silence that unfolds as we watch the mysterious dance between underwater elements.



Seagrass meadows, environmental art, Portuguese artist
Zostera Noltei 1