The mysterious underwater world of Jason deCaires Taylor

Humans never cease to find innovative ways of expressing themselves. From the early cave paintings that our ancestors drew to the present day, there are millions of examples of self-expression, ranging from music to painting, poetry to dance. They express our feelings as we explore what it means to be human.

Imagine swimming in the sea and suddenly, beneath you, seeing a sculpture of a man sitting at a desk with a typewriter! If you went to Grenada, in the West Indies, that's exactly what you'd see. It's just one of the remarkable ideas that has come out of the mind of Jason deCaires Taylor.

Taylor is a sculptor, but a sculptor with a difference. Instead of putting his sculptures in a park or an art gallery, he puts them underwater and creates "living" sculptures. Taylor chooses areas of the world where there is clear, shallow water. His underwater exhibitions can be seen in Mexico, Grenada, and the United Kingdom. Scuba divers, snorkelers, swimmers, and tourists in glass-bottomed boats can all see this mysterious world that Taylor has created. Underwater, everything is magnified (it looks bigger) and colors change because the only light underwater is from the surface.

One of Taylor's most ambitious exhibitions is The Silent Evolution, a permanent artificial reef in Mexico that occupies an underwater space of 420 square meters. It' made up of 400 life-size sculptures of people. The amazing thing about Taylor's work is that, over time, his sculptures become "living." Algae, a type of ocean plant, begins to grow on the figures, as does coral. Fish swim in between the sculptures; starfish cling to them. The surface of the sculptures changes. At first they look smooth, but later they look bumpy and rough. Different colors emerge as the marine plants settle on their new, man-made habitat. Effectively, the exhibition turns into an artificial coral reef.

Taylor's art is a combination of art and science. He works with marine biologists to create habitats for specific species of marine animals. Each sculpture is made from environmentally friendly materials that promote coral growth and is designed to last for hundreds of years. In an interview, Taylor said, "The coral applies the paint. The fish supply the atmosphere. The water provides the mood. People ask me when it's going to be finished. This is just the beginning."

So, what is Taylor's self-expression? His work looks at humans and nature, loss, and hope. Human activity has destroyed some of the largest, most beautiful coral reefs in the world. In just a few decades, 40 percent of them have disappeared, and scientists predict that 80 percent will have vanished by 2050. By creating artificial reefs, Taylor hopes to draw people away from the natural ones and save them. Taylor also feels that modern technology has meant we have lost things that will never return, like the typewriter, which no one uses anymore because we have computers. His Lost Correspondent exhibit expresses this loss.

In his exhibition The Anthropocene, which lies on the seabed at a depth of eight meters, Taylor used materials to attract crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, and shrimp. A life-size copy of a Volkswagen Beetle car encloses a "lobster city." The holes in the bottom part of the car act as doors for the lobsters to swim through, while the holes in the windows are suitable for small fish species to enter the car to hide and to breed. Inside the car, there are living spaces for lobsters. And so, this innovative example of human art turns into something that is positive and beneficial to marine life.


The mysterious underwater world of Jason deCaires Taylor
Online tutoring, study support and homework help - Ιδιαίτερα Μαθήματα Φιλολογικών Μαθημάτων - Προετοιμασία για Πανελλήνιες - Αγγλικά για Ενήλικες - Modern Greek for Foreigners

Text: Oxford University Press

Popular Posts / Δημοφιλείς Αναρτήσεις