Any unsuspecting swimmer diving off the coast of Cannes in France might think they have stumbled upon some ancient civilization like Easter Island that has long gone to sea. However, in reality, they will become unwitting participants in the underwater project of the artist Jason de Cayres Taylor, who completed his first composition in the Mediterranean. The project consists of six large sculptures in the shape of strange human heads.
The Cannes Underwater Museum was the first underwater museum in France. The underwater museum is 100 meters from the south coast of Sainte-Marguerite Island, which is part of the city of Cannes. The island itself lies 2 kilometers from the mainland of Cannes.
What does the museum look like
This modern landmark is known as the Cannes Underwater Museum or Statues sous-marines de Jason deCaires.
A surreal sight of a cluster of huge gray faces with closed eyes awaits divers at this underwater museum. On January 28, 2021, concrete sculptures were installed on the seabed as part of the new underwater museum by British artist Jason de Cayres Taylor.
The sculptures depict the faces of six residents, including an 80-year-old fisherman, an entrepreneur, and schoolchildren.
Each statue is over 2 meters high but is located only at a depth of up to 3 m and weighs over 10 tons. The statues are made of porous, environmentally friendly concrete with a neutral pH.
The material from which the sculptures are made is not specified. According to the artist, the sculptures look like they are “wearing masks.”
Why the Underwater Museum was created
The project, funded by the City of Cannes, aims to highlight the dire state of the seas and oceans.
The underwater exhibition is a message to the world and helps the marine ecosystem. Usually, marine inhabitants quickly inhabit such structures, thereby creating a new living space.
The double face concept
A distinctive feature of the Cannes Underwater Museum is the non-standard solution of double faces. Each face is split into two different-sized pieces. The larger outer half resembles a mask for its smaller counterpart.
This is a kind of metaphor for the current state of the world’s oceans, which, according to Jason Taylor, is often hidden from view.
The project’s author says that double faces were conceived as a metaphor for the state of the marine environment. Turning outward, the larger halves look strong and unbreakable. They are fragile and need protection. This is what is reflected in the little halves.
Nowadays, the movement of ships is prohibited in this area so that divers can swim among the sculptures in complete safety. In addition, there is hope that the marine fauna and flora will eventually take root on these heads and give them a unique imitation of deep antiquity.