Sunday, May 13, 2018

BEAUTY: Sculpture and Installation--Museo Atlantico by Jason deCaires Taylor

British sculptor and eco-artist Jason deCaires Taylor has created many underwater sculpture parks but he just finished what is the first underwater contemporary art museum in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean, the Museo Atlantico.

"Museo Atlantico is the first underwater contemporary art museum in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. Located off the coast of Lanzarote, Spain, the unique, permanent installation is sited 14m beneath the surface. The Museum was officially inaugurated on 10th January 2017 by the President of Lanzarote, Pedro San Gines.

The monumental project took over three years to plan and construct, aims to create a strong visual dialogue between art and nature. Designed on a conservational level to create a large-scale artificial reef, the first works installed in February 2016 have already seen an increase of over 200% in marine biomass and are now frequented by rare angel sharks, schools of barracudas and sardines, octopus, marine sponges and the occasional butterfly ray.

This is the first time Taylor has installed large-scale architectural works. The installations include a 100 Ton, 30m long wall and gateway, an underwater botanical sculpture garden and a single configuration of artworks which consists of over 200 life size-human figures in a human gyre.

The Museum is constructed using tried and tested, environmentally-friendly, inert pH neutral materials, and the formations are tailored to suit endemic marine life. It occupies an area of barren sand-covered seabed 50m x 50m.

The project is supported by the government of Lanzarote CACT (Centre of Art, Culture and Tourism) and forms part of Lanzarote’s 9 award-winning visitor centres. It builds on its unique status as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

The Museum includes an entrance and exit and its artworks form a sequential tour of 12 installations."

Of his piece The Portal which portrays a human-animal hybrid child gazing into a mirror placed flat on the ocean floor, decaires Taylor said, "The Portal is intended to portray water within water, an interface or looking glass into another world, the blue world."

Here are three views of one of the pieces entitled Dergulated, showing businessmen at play on an oil-pump see-saw as well as a nearby swing set. The piece speaks to the danger our world's oceans face at the hands of the oil industry... or as the artist explains, the "insouciance and arrogance of the corporate world towards the natural world."

deCaires Taylor also created several human figures in various states of morphing into cacti, a reference to the local terrestrial flora of Lanzarote, Spain.

Like most of his pieces, The Human Gyre creates a reef for marine species to inhabit, but also serves as a reminder that we are all subject to the movements and will of the ocean. "The piece embodies our naked vulnerability to its inherent power, and our fragility in the face of its cycles and immense force. It provides the oxygen we breathe, it regulates our climate, and it provides a vital source of nutrition to millions of people."

The Immortal Pyre also plays host to coral and marine life...

...while The Raft of the Lampedusa is a clear statement on the horrors of the refugee crisis. The first photo shows the piece as it was newly installed but the second photo shows the piece covered with new coral and marine life growth!

In his piece Crossing the Rubicon which depicts 35 figures heading toward a massive wall with only a single small rectangular door at its center, deCaires Taylor says,"The wall is intended to be a monument to absurdity, a dysfunctional barrier in the middle of a vast fluid, three-dimensional space, which can be bypassed in any direction. It emphasizes that the notions of ownership and territories are irrelevant to the natural world. In times of increasing patriotism and protectionism the wall aims to remind us that we cannot segregate our oceans, air, climate or wildlife as we do our land and possessions."

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