FRAGILE (HANDLE WITH CARE)
Behind the title of her new series ("Fragile, handle with care") and her seemingly effortless drawings and paintings, the work of Dutch artist Manuela Luchtmeijer hides profound meanings and a true mastery of line. She tells in her own way a universal story: that of women, who have been praised since time immemorial for their gentleness, maternity, strength, and beauty.
Chinese ink and the calligraphy brush are perfect for drawing, or rather suggesting, the postures of women - sometimes relaxed and sensual, sometimes prostrated and folded up, in an attempt to protect themselves against indiscreet glances at their vulnerable bodies on exhibition. Bodies in which are inscribed their most intimate stories.
The refinement of drawing, which extracts only the essential (a particularity of Chinese painting that the artist has freely appropriated), allows a game between fullness and nothingness, fantasy and the concrete, the said and the unsaid. This harmony is brutally broken by large red labels stuck randomly on these delicate silhouettes. These labels, normally affixed to postal packages, symbolize here the female object and denounce the violence too often suffered by women around the world.
But these drawings are first and foremost a tribute to the vulnerable and touching grace of woman, sometimes so fragile behind their air of seemingly effortless solidity.
EXHIBITIONS. I had the great honor of having been selected as the European representative to present this series at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in March 2013 to celebrate International Women's Day (with the support of the Dutch Embassy). Pictures
In November 2014 this series was shown at the Bankside Gallery in London (next to the Tate Modern Museum). Pictures