In the summer of 2014, two spectacular artworks adorned the rivers of Liverpool and London. Two ships painted in specially-commissioned ‘dazzle’ designs paid an unmissable homage to artists’ wartime contribution.
The dazzle style in which the ships were painted took as its inspiration the famous glaring colours and jagged lines of the ‘dazzle’ camouflage, designed to confuse enemy U-boat captains. The geometrically patterned boats would have been a familiar sight during the First World War, when hundreds of shipping convoys sailed to and from Britain’s ports.
In London the HMS President (1918), which served as a Dazzle Ship during the First World War, was ‘dazzled’ by Tobias Rehberger. One of the most respected European artists of his generation, Rehberger is a German sculptor whose work blurs the boundaries between design, sculpture, furniture-making and installation.These eye-catching vessels reminded local people and visitors of the crucial role ships played in the country’s wartime survival.
A series of films and talks, organised by 14-18 NOW and Totally Thames took place on the ‘dazzled’ HMS President (1918) on Sunday 21 September 2014.
See what the press said about Tobias Rehberger‘s Dazzle Ship here, including coverage in The Guardian, Daily Mail, Wallpaper, London Live and Design Week.
Carlos Cruz-Diez created a new work for an historic pilot ship, the Edmund Gardner, in Liverpool. One of the great figures of contemporary art, the Venezuelan artist is famous for his use of light, colour and movement in kinetic and optical art. A long-time resident of Paris, where he taught at the prestigious École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, his works can be found in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Liverpool Biennial in association with the University of the Arts London Chelsea College of Arts, HMS President (1918) and Tate Liverpool, in partnership with Merseyside Maritime Museum. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Dazzle Ship London was supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Goethe-Institut London and Schroder Charity Trust.
HMS President (1918)
A dry dock
Near the Albert Dock