Underwater Museums Blend Science and Art

The submerged sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor are both enchanting and ecologically meaningful.

Mar 31, 2015 10:00 PMNov 19, 2019 12:28 AM


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Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor is internationally acclaimed for his underwater installations. Mixing art and science, his works are designed to act as artificial reefs — attracting corals, increasing marine biomass and aggregating fish species — while crucially diverting tourists away from fragile natural reefs and thus providing space for natural rejuvenation.

In 2006 Taylor created the world's first underwater sculpture park off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies. Today Taylor's works are installed in oceans off the coasts of Mexico, Granada and the Bahamas. 

He has said he uses sculpture "as a means of conveying hope and awareness of the plight of our oceans."

Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

Taylor's sculptures change over time, as marine life assimilates the figuresUnderneath such changing life forms, the sculptures themselves indicate what is lost or forgotten.

The Lost Correspondent (2006) is one such installation. Immersed at a depth of 8 meters in Grenada, a man sits at his desk, his hands hovering over the typewriter, poised in eternal deliberation. He is a forgotten relic, like his typewriter — an antique, superseded by modern technology.

Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

Taylor’s most ambitious work to date, The Silent Evolution (2012), forms a permanent artificial reef in Mexico.

Occupying an area of over 420 square meters and with a total weight of over 200 tons, it consists of 400 life-size casts of individuals taken from a broad cross-section of humanity.

Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

Here, The Silent Evolution is shown being installed. Sculptures are grouped into modules to increase the speed and safety of installation.

Once the module hits the seafloor it is slowly moved into position. 

Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

The sculptures are made with carefully researched environmentally-friendly materials which actively promote coral growth, with inert Ph neutral properties designed to last hundreds of years.

Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

The mirror-finished piano in The Musician (2011) is based on an actual-size replica of a Steinway Concert Grand.

The sculpture, located in Musha Cay, Bahamas, also incorporates spaces that are designed to encourage habitation by marine species. A small hermit crab can be seen crawling across the keys.

Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

The Bankers (2011) symbolize denial: a resistance to acknowledge our looming environmental crisis, and the shortsighted actions of banking and government institutions.

The installation is located in Manchones Reef, Mexico. The buttocks provide an internal living space for crustaceans and juvenile fish. 

Photo Credits: Jason deCaires Taylor

Vicissitudes (2007), has had plenty of time to accrete marine life.

Installed at a depth of 5 meters in Molinere, Grenada, the sculpture consists of a ring of 26 children holding hands. Taylor cast the life-size figures from local children.

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