YOU ARE UNSINKABLE - 2023
Ink on Paper, 80 x 80 cm
“You Are Unsinkable" is an intricate piece by a Belgian artist based in Dubai. The artist meticulously applied three kilometers of ink from ballpoint pens onto paper to playfully delve into themes of immigration and population growth, exploring their impact on global inhabitation.
The accumulation and saturation of over five hundred lifebuoys generate a dynamic interplay between contrasts like freedom and control, movement and stillness, individualism and unity.
The movement of people across continents and regions spans thousands of years and involves considering environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Through the lifebuoy, also known as a life ring, which holds profound symbolic significance, the artist portrays a utopian vision that encompasses resource management, climate change adaptation, the strengthening of social cohesion, global cooperation, international partnerships for sustainability initiatives, and cross-cultural understanding.
This piece conveys a message of hope projected towards the viewer 50 years from now. Hope is symbolized in the form of a lifebuoy, representing an indomitable spirit that signifies one's resilient nature in the face of adversity: “You Are Unsinkable” regardless of the difficulties. The lifebuoy is personified, allowing the viewer to envision individuals and communities in motion.
The work functions as a performative intervention between space and body. In essence, lifebuoys become akin to bodies. Some lifebuoys may appear distorted, adapting their form to foster social cohesion when juxtaposed with others. Additionally, certain lifebuoys are designed in a whimsical manner, reminiscent of the fun buoys found in beach resorts. This serves as another form of personification, emphasizing the uniqueness of each individual's personality. It also illustrates those who effortlessly go with the flow of life, peacefully floating on the water, juxtaposed with those in distress.
“You Are Unsinkable” also acts as a metaphor of all the things we all grasp onto when we feel ourselves sinking. Throughout our lives, we face anxieties and fears of all kinds. Life takes on a perpetual bobbing motion, one moment we breathe, the next we sink. At the end of the day, we all cling to a life buoy, whatever it is, which helps us get our heads above water.
Overall, this piece stands as a statement meant to initiate dialogue around current themes the world is challenged with, with the intention of moving forward in a positive direction, guided by a clear vision.
Valérie Manouvrier, known by her artistic name Manou, is a contemporary artist who channels her expression through kilometers of ballpoint pen ink. Much like a painter with a brush, Manou wields her ballpoint pen to evoke emotions through kilometers of lines and vibrant colors. Manou has showcased her work in diverse cities such as Séoul and Dubai. Since 2012, she’s garnered global attention from collectors for her one-of-a-kind technique and bold, pop-inspired hues derived from primary colors.