Renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has a series of limited edition prints, sculptures and films on display in an exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York June 30 to July 28, 2012.
Some of his underwater sculptures are true masterpieces. Using high strength pH-neutral cement and tensile stainless steel coral anchoring points; The Phoenix is the first kinetic sculpture in the MUSA Cancun collection. Based on a female form, her wings are propagated with living purple fan coral that continuously moves back and forth underwater, filtering nutrients from the water column. The fan coral is often naturally uprooted and dislodged during strong storms and this coral was from rescued fragments found on nearby sand bars. The sculpture is orientated into the prevailing current and the wings of the Phoenix appears to beat with the natural cycle of the waves.
Partnering with Marine Biologist Heather Spence and Colegio Ecab A.C., The Listener portrays a lone figure that is assembled entirely from casts of human ears molded during a workshop of local Cancun students aged 8-12. The sculpture is located within the National Marine Park of Cancun and fitted with a revolutionary NOAA-designed hydrophone that continually records sounds from the reef environment, storing the data in an internal water resistant hard-drive.
Fitted with a non-invasive Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) listening device that captures some of complex sound activities taking place underwater to see if this data can in turn be used for conservation and research. The form symbolizes a passive relationship between humans and nature while aiming to engage local students in reef conservation and to draw attention to the much-needed ability to listen to what is happening to the world’s oceans.
Working in partnership with the University of North Carolina, University of Hawaii, Universidad del Caribe, Proyecto Domino and CONAMP, The Last Supper depicts a dining table carved from a rock outcropping. Laid with plates and cutlery, it features a large bowl filled with apples and hand grenades as a centrepiece and half eaten fish lie on the dining plates.
As a follow on from the Time Bomb series, this work illustrates the serious problem the world’s oceans are facing due to overfishing. The UN has claimed that three quarters of the world’s fisheries are severely over stressed and if nothing is done to reverse the trend we could see a worldwide collapse in 50 years with numerous species facing extinction. The Last Supper hopes to draw attention to this critical yet often over looked issue.
Another 50 life size characters are due to join the existing 400 pieces in The Silent Evolution located on the Manchones' reef system. In other work, and based on research with marine biologists, the Urban Reef project is a series of urban dwellings specifically designed to house individual marine species, forming a suburban complex or street scene. Rooms will include ideal conditions for juvenile fish species, crustaceans and a revolutionary algae harvesting area for sea urchins.