Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool have commissioned one of the major figures of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, to ‘dazzle’ a Mersey Ferry in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool.
This is the third in the series of Dazzle Ship commissions, following Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence pour l’Edmund Gardner Ship / Liverpool. Paris 2014 by Carlos Cruz-Diez on the Liverpool Waterfront, and Tobias Rehberger’s Dazzle Ship on the River Thames in London.
Sir Peter’s design entitled Everybody Razzle Dazzle will cover the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop with a distinctive pattern that can be seen for the next two years, as the passenger vessel continues its commuter service, River Explorer and Manchester Ship Canal Cruises. This is the first of the Dazzle Ship commissions to be a working vessel.
Unlike other forms of camouflage, ‘dazzle’ works not by concealing but by baffling the eye, making it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and direction. Artist Norman Wilkinson, credited with inventing the technique, explained that dazzle was intended primarily to mislead the enemy; each ship’s dazzle pattern, realised in monochrome and colour, was unique in order to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognisable to enemy U-boats and aircraft.