MILAN - As reported by the Guardian, at a depth of 15 metres underwater off the coast of the island of Lanzarote, in the Canaries, lies what could effectively be the first underwater museum in Europe. A series of works created by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor lay on the bottom of the sea, sparking the curiosity of those who, going underwater, might bump into a crowd of human figures or in a raft with migrants, which is a tribute to Lampedusa and to the sad events that are devastating the Mediterranean Sea.
"The Raft of Lampedusa" - which draws inspiration from "The Raft of the Medusa" by Gericault in 1818 - is the latest of Taylor's installations. The first dates back to 2006, when he created "Vicissitudes", a circle of schoolchildren who hold each other by the hand, sculpted in stone that he "sunk" off the coast of Granada. This work has been crucial in the creation of a marine protected park, that today the National Geographic has included amongst the 25 world wonders. Just over a year ago, on the other hand, off the coast of the Bahamas, "Ocean Atlas" took place, the biggest underwater sculpture in the world, weighing more than 40 tons, while the past year, in the waters of the Thames, close to the Houses of Parliament, the work "The Rising Tide" was installed, with which he evoked the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Taking care of the Planet
Taylor's intentions are to force us to rethink the sea, and as a consequence, to care that we place in protecting our natural resources. "For the whole time - said the artist - we look at the sea observing the line of the horizon". The idea to bury works of art underwater emphasises the desire to treat the sea as a museum, and, as a consequence, to attribute it that sacred and aesthetic nature that only art is able to express. And, actually, using also some data from the report issued by the World Resources Institute, the underwater environment, in particular the coral reefs, are seriously threatened everywhere in the world. Oceans absorb carbon dioxide from human activities on the land and for this reason they have become more acidic. Moreover, the increase in temperature is causing also a progressive whitening of the corals. All these alarm bells find in the works of Taylor an answer and an invite for everyone to respect and love more what nature has provided us with.
by Alessandro Conte