Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool and 14-18 NOW jointly commissioned Carlos Cruz-Diez to work with the idea of ‘dazzle’ camouflage in partnership with National Museums Liverpool using a historic pilot ship owned and conserved by Merseyside Maritime Museum. The Edmund Gardner is situated in a dry dock adjacent to Liverpool’s Albert Dock and is a new public monument for the city.
Carlos Cruz-Diez is one of the great figures of contemporary art, famous for his use of light, colour and movement in kinetic and optical art. Born in Venezuela but 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.
The dazzle style in which the Edmund Gardner is painted took its inspiration from 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.
Further commissions include Sir Peter Blake’s Everybody Razzle Dazzle which covered the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop with a distinctive pattern which you can still see on the River Mersey today. The HMS President (1918) was ‘dazzled’ by the German sculptor Tobias Rehberger, which adorned the river Thames in London whilst Turner Prize-nominated artist Ciara Phillips’ Every Woman, was part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2016.