Visit France’s New Underwater Sculpture Museum In Cannes
You will need goggles and oxygen to visit this fascinating sculpture museum under the clear waters off the coast of Cannes.
A new, underwater museum has been created off the Île Sainte Marguerite, off the coastline of Cannes in France. Not only does the museum offer beautiful sculptures to view, but it also aims to provide refuge and protection for the marine life in the area.
Transforming The Inert Into The Living
The French Riviera town of Cannes now has a brilliant new attraction, in the form of an underwater art museum. The museum has been placed under the water, just off Île Sainte Marguerite. In total, six sculptures can be seen, each of a height of more than six feet.
The sculpture is the work of British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who has created underwater museums in a number of places around the world. His Instagram bio features the words “Transforming the inert into the living.” This particular museum is his first in the Mediterranean Sea. The sculptures are portraits of local characters, including a nine-year-old primary school student and an 80-year-old local fisherman.
Each sculpture relates to the island’s history. Île Sainte Marguerite is famous for the 17th-century imprisonment of the “Man with the Iron Mask.” However, the artworks also relate to modern debates relating to a public persona, identity, and what lies under the surface.
Each stands at least six feet tall under the water and each weighs in at around 12 tons. Besides creating a new and fascinating diving spot, the underwater museum hopes to attract and protect marine life in the area. It should be noted that before the sculptures could be put in place, a major clean-up was necessary. Divers removed garbage, old marine infrastructure, old pipes, and cables from the bottom of the sea.
Once ready to put them in place, the sculptures were taken to the site by boat and carefully placed into position by divers, with the help of cranes.
Now the sculptures are in place, divers and snorkelers can swim among the sculptures without having to pay an entrance fee.
Other Work By Jason deCaires Taylor
While the Cannes installation is his newest, Taylor has created a number of underwater art installations around the world. Swiping through his Instagram, readers can enjoy images of his installations in Grenada, Cancun in Mexico, and the island of Lanzarote in Spain’s Canary Islands. Other underwater sculpture museums are located in the Maldives, Indonesia, Norway, and the UK. Among the sculptures in Britain, Taylor’s work displays the “aggressive, divisive and destructive debate” that is Brexit.
Each sculpture essentially becomes an artificial reef and each was created using non-toxic pH neutral cement. Every sculpture is free from harmful pollutants and is designed to become an integral part of the marine ecosystem. Towards this end, highly durable marine-grade cement has been used, with a rough texture to encourage coral larvae to attach and thrive. The sculptures also have nooks and crannies in the form of folds of clothing to provide homes for fish and crustaceans.
Readers can find out more about Jason deCaires Taylor’s sculpture projects on his website, along with beautiful images to view. More details of the creation of the sculptures can be seen in the video included here.