The Rising Tide

Location: River Thames, Vauxhall, London
Tidal sculpture: 0-8m
Installation date: 2015

Installed on the 3rd of September 2015, The Rising Tide depicts a series of horses with riders on the banks of the river Thames in central London. Positioned on the shoreline adjacent to the MI6 headquarters in Vauxhall opposite Tate Britain. The tidal works are revealed and partially concealed by the rise and fall of the Thames twice daily.

The hybrid sculptures fuse oil extraction machinery with the equine form, referencing the working horse of London whilst drawing attention to our ongoing dependency on fossil fuels and the potential apocalyptic outcome of climate change.

The sculpture was commissioned by the “Totally Thames” festival, which celebrates the river Thames during the month of September and was funded by Lumina Prime8.

Each of the horses has a different rider, either a male suited figure or a young teenager. The suited figures illustrate an attitude of denial or ambivalence towards our current climate crisis whereas the young riders represent hope in effecting future change. As a whole the sculptures symbolise our desire to control natural forces, but their position in a vast body of moving water highlights our inherent fragility. It is intended to provide a disturbing metaphor for rising sea levels, demonstrating how little time we have to act, yet crucially it offers hope as it resets itself each day offering us the opportunity for change.

The Rising Tide, London, UK by Jason deCaires Taylor