Dazzle ship

ship painted in bright contrasting colours

From 13 June 2014

Canning Graving Dock, opposite the Museum of Liverpool

Dazzle Ship is a co-commission by 1418 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commission, Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool, in partnership with the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez worked with the idea of dazzle using the historic Edmund Gardner pilot ship owned and conserved by the Merseyside Maritime Museum. The work has been realised by painters from Cammell Laird. 

The title of the work is 'Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence pour l’Edmund Gardner Ship / Liverpool. Paris, 2014'. 

painting of a ship painted with a geometric design in contrasting colours

'Mauretania in dazzle paint' by Burnett Poole

Dazzle painting

The commission transforms the historic pilot ship the Edmund Gardner into a ‘dazzle ship’, using a painting technique introduced as a way of camouflaging ships during the First World War. Dazzle's contrasting stripes and curves create an optical illusion that break up a ship’s shape and obscure its movement in the water, making it difficult for enemy submarines to identify and destroy.

Painted in bright colours and a sharp patchwork design of interlocking shapes, the spectacular dazzle style was heavily indebted to Cubist art. The inventor of dazzle painting, Norman Wilkinson, was influenced by avant-garde British painters such as Wyndham Lewis and David Bomberg. 

The Edmund Gardner pilot ship is situated in Canning Graving Dock opposite the Museum of Liverpool.

It will be returned to the original livery following the dazzle ship project and the attention the vessel will receive during the project will help in her long term preservation.

Further information

Transforming the dazzle ship

Watch the Edmund Gardner being transformed into a dazzle ship in this time lapse video, courtesy of Liverpool Biennial.

Time lapse: Dazzle Ship from Liverpool Biennial on Vimeo .