What Lies Beneath: Tipping Point
Commissioned by The ReefLine, Carlos Betancourt has created What Lies Beneath, two buoyant iceberg sculptures and an accompanying NFT co-created with Studio Brasch.
The physical sculptures, presented as an intervention by the artist floating in Faena Hotel’s pool, are an invitation to reflect on the climate crisis, on the longevity of icebergs, on rising seas, and on the viability of plant and animal species, including our own. The work is a reminder that humans find themselves at a crossroads—a choice between extinction and survival. The corresponding NFT will be released on Aorist at a benefit auction for The Reefline.
Betancourt invites us to explore the sumptuous imagery of the textures and colors of the ice as it changes under the shifting light of night and day, as it cracks, melts, and breaks apart. Under the spell of the beauty of the digital animation, we suddenly find ourselves submerged by the very water that so seductively melted before our eyes. The work is a reminder of the ways in which humans engage in the very behaviors that propel us and our endangered planet toward a future underwater.
ABOUT THE REEFLINE The ReefLine is a marine sanctuary and will feature environmentally functioning artworks by major international artists and designers, to be completed in several phases, with the first phase slated to open in 2022. In partnership with the City of Miami Beach, the underwater public sculpture park, snorkel trail, and artificial reef will be located off Miami Beach’s shoreline. Conceived by BlueLab’s Chair Ximena Caminos, in close consultation with a team of expert marine biologists, researchers, architects, and coastal engineers, ReefLine will begin North of 4th street and run north, providing a critical habitat for endangered reef organisms, promoting biodiversity, and enhancing coastal resilience. www.thereefline.org
Carlos Betancourt (b. 1966, Puerto Rico) was raised by Cuban-born parents and relocated to Florida with his family in 1980. Betancourt explores and examines humanity’s relationship and interactions with nature. His work also explores issues of identity, personal memories and beauty, all of which are heavily influenced by his years growing up in San Juan, Florida. He blends the boundaries between art, photography and nature. Betancourt is heavily influenced by artists such as Ana Mendieta, Robert Rauchenberg and Courbet. Edouard Glissant’s belief that ‘the past resides in material objects that only release their hidden meanings when encountered imaginatively and sensuously’ resonates with his approach to his installations. Betancourt has worked as a curator, furniture designer and he has collaborated with acclaimed architect Alberto Latorre in several large-scale public art commissions. He and Latorre also co- founded ‘801 Projects’, a center that provides space for visual artists in Miami. Betancourt’s achievements are extensive: in 2015, Paul Lauster and Robert Farris Thompson published a book with Rizzoli, named Carlos Betancourt: Imperfect Utopia, which explores his art with more than 250 images and text. Betancourt’s art is also a permanent fixture in public collections such as the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the San Antonio Museum of Art. His works have been shown at large-scale art fairs such as Art Basel Miami and Arco art fair in Madrid. Betancourt has also been awarded a multitude of awards; in 2018, he won the People’s Choice Award, Florida Prize, for the Contemporary Art exhibition in the Orlando Art Museum, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Grant.