Generally speaking, you want to stick art in a prominent location so that it can be viewed. What’s the point of making the Mona Lisa if you’re just going to hide it in a basement?
That’s one of the allures of architecture. Architecture is usually visible because, well, you make buildings with architecture, and buildings are visually prominent. Architecture is connected to art because viewing buildings is unavoidable. The whole relationship between art and visibility is undoubtedly important.
So, it’s a bit odd when a guy wants to install an enormous field of statues at the bottom of the ocean. If you’re going to go through the trouble to make 400 life-size human statues, I would think that you would want them to be someplace prominent and visible so that others could enjoy your work.
Artist Jason DeCaires Taylor disagrees. He sank his statues, titled The Silent Evolution, into the sea off the coast of Cancun. Sure, his statues are visible to the rare group of scuba divers who want to make the swim out to his statues, but they are generally unreachable for most people.
But the messages that Taylor’s artwork sends is important for artists and architects everywhere.
One of the messages that Taylor wants to convey with this piece is that man and nature are deeply connected. To demonstrate the point, the project is actually beneficial for the environment. These pH-neutral, concrete statues give aquatic plants and coral a place to latch on and grow, which in turn attracts fish and other sea creatures. In a way, it looks as if the fish have come to this neck of the ocean to enjoy Taylor’s artistic achievement and support his green opinions.
In previous decades, designers wanted to create buildings that had no negative impact on the surrounding landscape. While this is very optimistic thinking, it wasn’t quite optimistic enough. The best way to approach building design nowadays is to create structure that will actually have a beneficial relationship with the environment.
For inspiration, just grab a scuba mask and plunge into the clear waters off of Cancun to get a glimpse of his eerie aquatic gallery.