A real-life Atlantis: British artist creates stunning sculpture city under the sea off Mexico
- Jason deCaires Taylor has unveiled his latest sculptures at the Museo Subacuatico de Arte in Cancun, Mexico
- The eerie new pieces include the submerged heads of the anchors on an American television news show
By STEVE NOLAN
He's previously caused a splash in the art world by creating a real life city of Atlantis, sinking a life-size sculpture of a Volkswagen Beetle and even a house.
And now British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has unveiled his latest collection of sub-aquatic art - this time with a serious message.
The 39-year-old has unveiled a new series of works in the Museo Subacuatico de Arte, the subaquatic museum he co-founded back in 2009 off the coast of Cancun, Mexico.
The new pieces include the submerged cement heads of the anchors on American news show NBC Today, cast when deCaires Taylor appeared on the show, which sit eerily amid a bed of sea grass.
Under the sea: Jason deCaires Taylor's underwater sculpture 'Vein Man' at the Museo Subacu·tico de Arte. Over time bright yellow fire coral will travel along the stainless steel lattice and look like blood through veins
Life below the surface: 'The Anchors', a sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor, sits in a bed of sea grass
Man on fire: The artist's sculpture 'Self-Immolation', is made from black pH neutral marine cement, and depicts a solitary burning figure. Over time it will be overrun with fast-growing, bright yellow live fire coral
A number of the new works deal with the devastation of the natural marine habitat.
One of the sculptures, called No Turning Back, a cement cast of a hunched-over woman, alludes to the loss of Caribbean coral reefs, while Self-Immolation depicts a solitary burning figure - a reference to the practice of setting yourself on fire as a form of political protest.
Made from black pH neutral marine cement, the work is augmented with stainless steel spines, and over time it will be overrun with fast-growing, bright yellow live fire coral which will mimic flames.
Mr deCaires Taylor said: 'I try to use the work to highlight the huge losses we're having and how our blue planet is changing quite dramatically.
Talking art: 'The Speaker' stands in a bed of sea grass. The sculpture is planted with more than 200 cuttings of rare Acropora Prolifera coral
Stunning: The sculpture is planted with more than 200 cuttings of the rare Acropora Prolifera coral, in Cancun, Mexico
Prolific: DeCaires Taylor now has 510 sculptural works permanently on display at the site, many of which feature live coral
Latest additions: The 39-year-old has unveiled a new series of works in the Museo Subacuatico de Arte, the subaquatic museum he co-founded back in 2009 off the coast of Cancun, Mexico
'Future generations aren't going to see the same number of species and fantastic pristine reefs.
'But I want to balance that sadness - in order to inspire people, you have to offer them hope as well."
Another of deCaires Taylor's sculptures is Resurrection, a winged angelic-looking figure, which uses live purple Gorgonian fan coral, rescued after being displaced from the reef system and damaged during a recent storm.
Strong currents around the museum meant that the sculptures had to be craned from a bridge into a nearby canal and then toed out to the site.
The Dover, Kent, born artist said: 'Some of these were much more delicate than pieces I've made before, so it was difficult working in tough conditions.
Art with a message: A number of the new works deal with the devastation of the natural marine habitat
Natural subject: 'No Turning Back' in the Museo Subacu·tico de Arte in Cancun, Mexico, a cement cast of a hunched-over woman, alludes to the tragic loss of Caribbean coral reefs
Artistic installation: One of the artist's latest sculptures is pictured being lowered down into the water at the submarine park
Last light: The sculpture gets one last glimpse of daylight before being completely submerged by the water
Getting wet: No turning back is carefully winched into the water and placed on a rock at the bottom of the ocean
'I had to box some of them up in crates and then sink them underwater in their crates. Believe me, taking a crate apart underwater is difficult.'
DeCaires Taylor now has 510 sculptural works permanently on display at the site, although these are his final additions for the time being as he prepares to relocate back to Europe.
However, the museum has been a huge success, receiving 250,000 visitors each year, and deCaires Taylor is trying to secure funding to eventually expand it to include 8,000 figures - more than the famous Terracotta Army.
He said: 'I'm leaving Mexico, but I've got this legacy here, that my daughter can come back in twenty years time and it will still be there.'
Some of his more creative works include a life-size version of a Volkswagen Beetle and an underwater 'city' of homes.
Hands on: Vein Man sticks out of the top of the water as it is lowered down by a crane hook, left, while artist Jason deCaires Taylor gets into the water himself to help lower one of his sculptures into place, right
Preparation work: Jason deCaires Taylor works on his sculpture 'Self-Immolation' in his studio in Cancun
Expanding: The museum has been a huge success, receiving 250,000 visitors each year, and deCaires Taylor is trying to secure funding to eventually expand the site to 8,000 figures