See It: Public Sculpture, Submerged

The creator of the world’s first underwater sculpture park has a new, semi-submerged public art installation in London’s Thames River.

Called The Rising Tide, the installation is London’s first commission of Jason deCaires Taylor, an underwater sculptor, photographer and naturalist, whose art stands on the floors of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic.

Taylor’s portfolio speaks to environmental and marine conservation, and, per his artist bio, “lead[s] us to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the underwater world.” One man’s “breathtaking natural beauty” is another’s “vast, terrifying catalog of evolution’s first drafts,” but that’s probably part of why his art is so striking.

The Rising Tide features four riders on a surreal animal that is part workhorse, part oil pump. Twice a day during low tide, they stand fully visible on the shore of the Thames, until the river starts to creep up the sculptures to the riders’ heads.

Of his new installation, Taylor told the Guardian:

Working in conservation, I am very concerned with all the associated effects of climate change and the state of peril our seas are in at the moment. So here I wanted a piece that was going to be revealed with the tide and worked with the natural environment of the Thames, but also alluded to the industrial nature of the city and its obsessive and damaging focus just on work and construction.

The Totally Thames festival, for which The Rising Tide was commissioned, describes the installation in a masterful stroke of art-spin on its website:

These four proud horses and their riders highlight the role of the Thames as the lifeblood of London, shaping the city’s great history as an ever evolving centre for culture, industry and commerce.

Right. Definitely has nothing to do with the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Below, pictures of The Rising Tide at different tidal levels, courtesy of Taylor’s website.