Art Exhibit, Once Under Water, On Display in Key West

Andreas Franke's "The Sinking World" exhibit opened Thursday and continues through Feb. 15 at The Studios of Key West

By Andy Newman
|  Friday, Jan 18, 2013  |  Updated 4:56 PM EDT
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Austrian art photographer Andreas Franke, left, shows his artwork to Elena Devers at the opening of "The Sinking World" at The Studios of Key West.

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An Austrian art photographer's exhibit -- once displayed 95 feet deep on a sunken ship in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary -- has premiered onshore in Key West.

Andreas Franke's "The Sinking World" exhibit opened Thursday and continues through Feb. 15 at The Studios of Key West, according to Florida Keys News Bureau

The exhibit features digitally composited images of the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a former Air Force missile-tracking ship scuttled in May 2009 to become an artificial reef off Key West.

The Vandenberg is the second-largest ship in the world to be purposely sunk for a marine habitat, artificial-reef experts said.

Franke photographed the wreck and digitally added elements, creating haunting images, such as a young girl wielding a butterfly net to capture fish and a workman perched on a crossbeam to eat his lunch.

The 4- by 5-foot photographs then were sandwiched in plexiglass and displayed on the Vandenberg's Weather Deck beneath the ocean's surface for almost five months.

Barnacles, algae and other marine organisms grew on them and slight water leaks altered the images to create the work being exhibited on land.

"My art looks quite similar above the water as well as under water, but over time when the sealife starts growing, it changed dramatically," Franke said. "It gave it a third dimension to the surface."

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