Surfing may seem like an innocent enough pastime, but highly toxic chemicals used to make surfboards and wetsuits like polyurethane foam, fibreglass and neoprene mean modern surfing isn’t always as squeaky-clean as it seems.
A new exhibition at the Eden Project this Summer explores the murky side of surfing and highlights some of the cutting edge eco-technologies being developed in Cornwall that are making it greener.
The exhibition, ‘Ben Cook at Eden’, will run from 7 June to 4 September thanks to funding from the Arts Council England, South West. Artist and surfer Ben Cook aims to address the environmental impact of surfing through his exhibition: “I want to raise awareness of ecological issues relevant to the surfing community through my work,” he says.
Using the groundbreaking sustainable materials being developed by internationally renowned Cornish companies like Homeblown Surfboards and Sustainable Composites, Ben’s work includes wall-based abstract ‘landscape paintings’ and a large-scale installation called ‘The Pack 2008.’
Based on an original work by Joseph Beuys, The Pack 2008 uses a renovated surfer’s VW camper van, old surfboards, discarded wetsuits and surfwax to highlight the ways in which surfing’s toxic materials cause damage to the environment.
Arts Council England, South West Executive Director Nick Capaldi said: “Ben’s show is a great example of how the arts contribute to and raise debates about important issues that impact us all.”