Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Eerie, Haunting and Below the Sea: DeCaires Taylor’s Underwater Museums

DeCaires Taylor's Underwater Museums
Jason deCaires Taylor, Raft of the Lampedusa, Lanzarote, 2016. Source: boatshopping

Sculpture

Eerie, Haunting and Below the Sea: DeCaires Taylor’s Underwater Museums

In 2006, British artist Jason deCaires Taylor installed the first undersea sculpture park in the Caribbean. Since that time he created several other sites including ones at Cancun, Mexico, the banks of the Thames in London and the waters of Canary Island Lanzarote. Taylor’s unique installations are a culmination of his skills and experiences as a sculptor, conservationist, and scuba diver. He is a key contributor of the eco-art movement.

Born in 1974 of an English father and Guyanese mother, Taylor studied art in London. He became a full-time artist at the age of 30. Inspired by his work as a scuba instructor and passion for ocean conservation, each undersea park and museum is a dialogue of art, science and the relationship between humans and nature. He deals with modern themes of climate change, pollution and immigration and is recognized internationally for his environmental and political work.
DeCaires Taylor's Underwater Museums

Jason deCaires Taylor, Self-portrait in studio, 2013. Source: Installation Magazine

The sculptures are made from a special pH-neutral cement with a texture that encourages growth of coral and habitation of underwater creatures. The corals, sponges, fish, crustaceans and worms live on and alter the surface of the statues – the sea claiming the works, altering and engaging with the pieces in a completely organic way.

The underwater parks display up to 400-500 life-size sculptures, cast from local people, trees and even cars. Having the ocean as the exhibition space means a constant change of environment. There are schools of fish that swim by, and shifting tides, lighting to the sandstorms that whirl through and engulf the statues in clouds. Visitors access the sculptures through diving, snorkeling or glass-bottom boats. An added benefit is these parks are located near coral reefs and are able to divert a lot of attention.

The Raft of the Lampedusa

DeCaires Taylor's Underwater Museums

Jason deCaires Taylor, Raft of the Lampedusa, Lanzarote, 2016. Source: boatshopping

The Raft of the Lampedusa resting on the floors off of Lanzarote is a homage to Théodore Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa (1891). 13 bodies piled in an inflatable raft. In Taylor’s words, the work is not intended as a tribute or memorial to the many lives lost but as a stark reminder of the collective responsibility of our now global community.

Reclamation

DeCaires Taylor's Underwater Museums

Jason deCaires Taylor, Reclamation, MUSA, Cancun, 2009. Source: musamexico.org


Infusing hope and phoenix-like resurrection is Reclamation. Purple sea fans spread and filter the water. It offers a sense of revival to the viewer and home to the ocean life teaming on its surface.

 Silent Evolution

DeCaires Taylor's Underwater Museums

Jason deCaires Taylor, Silent Revolution, MUSA, Cancun, cement, 2010. Source: ted.com

Silent Evolution in Museo Subacuático de Arte off of Cancun, was one of the most provocative pieces – with 400 casts of locals grouped together. The scale and weight were massive. They are a key example of the awareness and conservation these parks are working to create.

DeCaires Taylor's Underwater Museums

Jason deCaires Taylor, Crossing the Rubicon, Lanzarote, Museo Atlantico, 2017. Source: artimage.org.uk

This stunning piece is an example of how the sea life alters and changes these grey cement statues into living coral habitats.
More sites being planned. And it is a beautiful, inspiring project to see how the creation of art can better our oceans. Taylor’s desire to preserve and protect the oceans is realized in each installation. He creates in defence of the sea. Like all museums, these below the water are conserving precious treasures.

Learn more:
 


Giotto’s weeping angels started my love affair with art history.
Seattle, WA based.

Comments

More in Sculpture

  • Art Forms

    The Magic and Splendor of Karagöz, Turkish Shadow Puppets

    By

    Evoking the imagination of adults and children for centuries, Karagöz (Black Eye in Turkish) is a popular and beloved Turkish shadow puppet character as well as the name of the shadow puppet theater in Turkish culture. The art of Karagöz/Turkish shadow puppets is beyond magical; it...

  • 21st century

    Meet the Award-winning Sculptor and Installation Artist Ayşe Erkmen

    By

    Berlin-based Turkish visual artist Ayşe Erkmen has been awarded the Ernst Franz Vogelmann Prize for Sculpture in 2020. As the first woman artist to receive this prize, she will have her sculptures Kuckuck (2003) and not the color it is (2014) displayed in the retrospective exhibition...

  • Ancient Greece

    How to Show Up in a Gym – 3 Ancient Sculptures of Hercules

    By

    In Greek mythology Hercules was a demigod and much admired heroic figure. The Romans called him Hercules (Herakles was his Greek name) and he was imported into their mythological story of the founding of Rome. In mythology, Hercules, completed twelve labors, a series of grueling challenges,...

  • resting elephant resting elephant

    20th century

    The Bugatti Brothers: A Story About Cars and Cows

    By

    Nowadays Bugatti is a legendary company in the field of automobile technology. However, few people know the history of the man behind the trademark, and even more interesting, the family behind the name. Meet the Bugatti brothers! A Family of Artists The Bugatti family was full...

  • 21st century

    Interview: Soumya Netrabile, A Contemporary Abstract Painter

    By

    Soumya Netrabile (b. 1966) is a contemporary abstract painter and ceramist based in the Chicago area of the United States. Her paintings are a fusion of anatomical, organic, and plant forms that build imaginary landscapes with a color palette that oscillates between vibrant colors and muted...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy