Artist Jason deCaires Taylor’s epic underwater project Museo Atlántico in Lanzarote, Spain, will be inaugurated today (10 January) by President of the island, Pedro San Gines, before opening to the public. To access the museum visitors will need to book tours via recommended dive schools.
The exhibition encompasses 300 works spread over 12 installations and features Taylor’s first large-scale architectural pieces, including a 100-ton four-metre high wall that covers a distance of 30 meters, an underwater botanical sculpture garden referencing local flora and fauna, and a colossal formation of over 200 life size-human figures in a gyre.
Two percent of the profits made by Museo Atlántico will go towards protection projects, education initiatives and research projects related to life in the sea of Lanzarote and the Canary Islands.
One installation, Crossing the Rubicon (pictured above), consists of a group of 35 haunting figures walking towards an underwater wall and entrance, a boundary between two realities and a portal to the Atlantic Ocean.
Explained the artist: ‘The wall is 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 emphasises 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. We forget we are all an integral part of a living system at our peril.
‘The work aims to mark 2017 as a pivotal moment, a line in the sand and reminder that our world’s oceans and climate are changing and we need to take urgent action before it’s too late.’
Another, titled Deregulated, consists of a children’s playground enjoyed by suited businessmen. The swing, a seasaw, and a play dolphin ride represent the ‘arrogance of the corporate world towards the natural world. The seasaw references a petroleum extraction pump, a comment on the control of these fossil fuels and their unregulated use. The dolphin ride is indicative of the burden we are placing on marine species and its ultimate collapse if left unchecked.’
The final installation in Museo Atlántico in is the Human Gyre, for which over 200 life-size figurative works are arranged in a vast circular formation. Consisting of various models of all ages and from all walks of life, the positioning of the figures constructs a complex reef formation for marine species to inhabit and is a poignant statement for visitors to take with them at the end of the tour.
Added deCaires Taylor: ‘The artistic installation reminds us that we have evolved from marine life, and 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.’
‘A visit to Museo Atlántico in may lead us to a closer understanding of our relationship with the natural marine environment and appreciate the need to value and protect this fragile ecosystem in order to save ourselves.’
Earlier works installed less than a year ago have seen an increase of over 200 percent in marine biomass.