Jason deCaires Taylor is an internationally acclaimed eco-sculptor who creates underwater living sculptures, offering viewers mysterious, ephemeral encounters and fleeting glimmers of another world where art develops from the effects of nature on the efforts of man. His site-specific, permanent installations 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. Subject to the abstract metamorphosis of the underwater environment, his works symbolize a striking symbiosis between man and nature, balancing messages of hope and loss.
Taylor’s sculptures change over time with the effects of their environment. These factors create a living aspect to the works, which would be impossible to reproduce artificially. As time passes and the works develop biological growth, they redefine the underwater landscape, evolving within the narrative of nature.
The Silent Evolution “our favorite ” (2010), forms a permanent monumental 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 and has been designed to aggregate fish and corals on a grand scale. Slowly but surely these sculptures are evolving, a fur of algae on a girl’s cheek, a starfish on a nun’s face, The Silent Evolution reveals the imperceptible changes of nature on human artifice. Eventually this underwater society will be totally assimilated by marine life, transformed to another state—a challenging metaphor for the future of our own species. You can see most of his work here
Over the past few decades, we have lost over 40% of our natural coral reefs. Scientists predict a permanent demise of 80% by 2050. Jason de Caires Taylor’s art is an example of generative human intervention in the ecosystem, showing what can be accomplished by individual imagination and collective effort. Taylor’s strategy of conserving reefs, opposes the “land as commodity” mentality of Capitalism. His creation of underwater sculpture parks attracts tourists away from natural reefs, allowing them to recover, and taps into tourism revenue, showing how activists might be able to use the system’s rapacious tendencies against itself. His exceptional works are designed “to promote the regeneration of marine life and to use sculpture as a means of conveying hope and awareness of the plight of our oceans” before it is too late.
You can find them in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc.