This perpetually sinking boat is an unsettling work of art

Parisian artist Julien Berthier specializes in creating art installations that are vaguely unsettling—a cheerful message carved ominously into a green lawn, for example, or a shaky chair built from a plan he drew with his left (non-dominant) hand. However, his best-known piece is a fully functional boat with a twist.

The installation, called Love Love, is a boat that sits perpetually tilted up into the air, as if half-sunk. In reality, the boat is in no danger—Berthier actually designed it to float this way. The project began when he found an abandoned yacht, and instead of fixing it up in the traditional way, he removed half of it, sealing the hole with fibreglass and figuring out how to make it balance and sail at an angle.

As anyone who’s hung around a marina (or seen Titanic) knows, there is something deeply unsettling about seeing a boat tilted up in the water. Berthier built the boat in order to prolong that sense of unsettlement. He told the Daily Mail, “I wanted to freeze the moment just a few seconds before the boat disappears, creating an endless vision of the dramatic moment.”

He notes that however dramatic the boat may look, it is actually perfectly functional and safe. In fact, Berthier has cruised the boat around many European harbours (a video shows the boat bobbing jauntily as it sails along), though it has created a stir when people have seen him and assumed his boat was, in fact, sinking. In reality, its main drawback is that it is a bit uncomfortable—apparently a small price to pay for fulfilling an artistic vision.